They arrive. Ma and Papa. My kids Daddu and Amma. After six years. With suitcases full of clothes and dates ofcourse, the quintessential middle eastern gift. And yes pickles and home made mathri. One suitcase of their clothes. Three of gifts. She has been collecting gifts for a year.
They look around the house with the quiet pride and constructive criticism of a parent. “Nice house. If only you would organize it better”. We smile. We’ve been prepared for this. This too is a luxury.
Ma carries herself with the grace and dignity of a woman who runs a tight ship, raised three boys and put hot food on the table every day of those years. She has never really understood why I can’t make good rotis. The day I will understand, I will explain.
She has her priorities in the right places. She puts her children before herself and her family above all else.
“Flowers. This house needs more flowers. We should plant a tree so the tree can grow as Mehr does.” I imagine my 8 year old going to college and coming home to sit under the stunning purple flowered princess tree. It feels right.
Off we go to the nursery. Ma who checks the label of every item in every store is willing to spend on gold and trees. She knows something I am just beginning to understand and love.
Papa walks around, shivering in the freezing San Francisco summer, nervous as usual of every jutting nail, every loose plank and a child running around it. He inspects every photo frame and every dirt spot. He finds many of both. He maintains the tradition of telling us not to stop the kids from playing video games and letting them stay up. The kids can’t believe their luck.
As I watch three generations of boys playing with the fidget spinner in our living room, it’s clear: Our generation is a bridge for the generation before us and the generation after to share stories and pass on important messages. Some of them about flowers and fidget spinners.