Tell us about your family (number of children, the family you were raised in). Where do you call home?
Matt and I are both immigrants. He moved here from Poland when he was around 10, and my parents both moved from India. Neither of us have any extended family, beyond our parents, in this country. Neither of us feel much connection to the U.S. towns where we spent our childhoods and adolescence, though we do feel connected to our college towns — perhaps because that is where we started discovering ourselves. We are happy in D.C. and have been here for more than a decade, but I wouldn’t say that it is home either.
I guess we are kind of rootless, in terms of geography. Our idea of “home” is most embodied in each other: wherever he is, that is my home. I also feel at home in cities. Bustling, diverse, dense, and ever-changing, cities make me feel liberated from any kind of expectation on my identity. Being a brown-skinned person, this is especially freeing — I can be an individual person and not be hemmed in by my ethnicity, which has sometimes happened in more homogeneous smaller towns where I’ve lived.
We have our favorite spots in the city: I take the kids to Crispus Attucks park, where Hugo has his favorite “tree home” and loves to follow the stepping stones, and my husband often take the kids to Rock Creek Park on weekends. We also spend hours on our back porch, aka “sunrise porch.” Being outside makes all of us calmer, happier people.
My favorite activity is taking walks with my children. In our neighborhood, that means we may end up watching trucks at a construction site, chasing squirrels, stopping for coffee (or chocolate milk), or catching the metro to a museum, and always chatting with people along the way. I want my children to be observant and open to the world and its possibilities, and to have the feeling that they never really know what the day will hold, but they are prepared to embrace what it has to offer. I’m a strong believer in serendipity, and I know an open perspective allows people to take advantage of unexpected opportunities. I also find that my oldest and I have our best conversations while walking — those walks are when he talks about his future, about his worries, and about big topics like life and death.
D.C. is a great biking city, since it is so flat (for the most part)! Since our oldest turned 1, we have him on our bikes for adventuring. That definitely increased our radius of convenience, and our activity options. But i have to say, I love walking the best — it is so much easier to just stop and connect with whatever you happen by.
What is your favorite quote about motherhood?
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.