Empty Nest To Open Nest
Posted by Jyoti on Nov 9, 2018
There are several young families in my neighborhood who, like me, are first generation immigrants. They have left their family elders behind in their birth countries and started their young families here. I simply started by talking to the kids and parents as they played in the park right outside my front door. They soon learned that I leave my door open for them to come whenever they feel like it. Sometimes they come to play, and other times to share their daily lives, be it the hard day at work, or how their child is 'too shy' or 'not sleeping well' or whatever else they may be concerned about. I listen to their worries and if I can, offer a reassuring word or two. Other times, the parents just sit and read a book or lie down on my couch, while I take a break from my daily life to play with the kids for a bit or teach them a chant. It somehow seems to work for us all.
For a couple of years now, we have gathered in my house for some major festivals too, as we did recently for Diwali. I get to re-tell the ancient story of Ramayan in a kid friendly version, we sing or chant a little and then enjoy a vegetarian meal together. My aunt had advised me that I can treat everyone younger as my child. I am now the neighborhood aunty to them all, parents and kids. A parent of a 3 year old even labeled me a glam-ma, a younger more glamorous grandma. The values of leaving the door open and blooming where I am planted, has led to a lovely trusted community that we all enjoy. My empty nest is no longer empty, it is officially an open nest.