Sunday, May 30, 2010

Whoosh (in America...)_


We've done the long route back across the ocean, seven movies this time from K'du to JFK via Etihad, which is a useful nearly-direct route if only the original flight last Thursday hadn't been postponed because of a massive typhoon in the Indian Ocean causing us to return home disheartened at 11 pm from Tribhuvan Int'l rather than fly out to make it to western Massachusetts the next day in time for Ezi's NMH award ceremony on Saturday, alas.

To say that I was disappointed would be an understatement of parental proportions, of course. But, ke garne, at least some of the movies were good fun and entertaining when I had to let go of my attachment ('Nine', 'Nowhere Man', 'Shutter Island', 'The Last Station', 'You Only Live Twice', 'Lovely Bones', 'Dirty Harry'...); although there was a moment over Nova Scotia when I could feel Ez standing up for his 'Head of School' award even though we couldn't reach out to him at that precious, disemboided moment.

At least, I knew, Josh had come by bus from DC and NYC to be there for Ezi's award ceremony. He was going to meet us at JFK to drive up together, but when we called to tell him we would be delayed, he rode the bus due north to be there for the family. I could feel him, as well, standing, clapping, cheering and supporting his younger brother in the NMH chapel as Ez walked up shyly proud of the high honor he was being given by his teachers and peers -- the same one Josh has been given a year before...

As you know, emotions can gather like the storm clouds below us when you're sitting at 40,000' attenuated from life's richest affections.

But we were there for graduation on Sunday as the proud and loving parents w/ Joshua, my mother and brother in tow. It was a magnificent springtime New England day, blue sky with hints of threatening dark cumulus clouds on the horizon. Color, festivity and joy in the crowd of a thousand plus who were there to celebrate with their children, siblings, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. John Irving (whose son graduated, as well) reading a story from his own life rich in analogies, metaphors and personal experience of loss, heart-felt values and dislocation. A truly American occasion marking a key secular threshold in our children's unfolding lives.

For us, these have been an exceptional (yes, exceptional!) three years for both Joshua and Ezra, as well as us as an expatriate family with NMH. The school and all the supporting cast have been wonderful, loving and wise in so many various ways for our two sons. They have matured, grown, gained and opened so richly through their experiences at this 'cow pasture on a hill' in western Massachusetts.

Be it academic challenges, new friendships, their beloved football (soccer), basketball or volleyball, public speaking, social service, the demands of physical labor or their individual responsibilities as student leaders in their senior years, NMH has offered so much to these beloved sons of ours during their two years on campus.

Little could we have expected so much good fortune and opportunity when we first stopped there three summers ago on our way to a vacation in the Adirondacks to see where, exactly, we'd enrolled our son.

Now, as we prepared to say 'adieu', I felt I could have lingered longer in those easy rocking chairs on the porch of the beautiful, new administrative building for a few more days, simply reading, reflecting, dozing, recalling and indulging my memories of the bounty we found there amid the fields, buildings and people of NMH while staring blankly out at those lush, green, inviting hills of Vermont over the northern reaches of the landscape.

A particularly American tableau, a satisfyingly American experience, a blessed time for Joshua and Ezra as a safe and stimulating transition from their youth in Nepal to their maturity amid the hills, mountains and rivers of life beyond...

Instead, of course, we had our own river to ride, as we drove back along the smooth Yankee highway to JFK Monday morning, leaving Ez somewhere in the neighborhood to finish his packing then head off 'cruising' with his NMH friends around New England, while Josh joined us temporarily on the drive to NYC where he spent a few days w/ Silash, Adhish and Sudip, his Kathmandu contemporaries, before heading back via Dubai for a few days w/ a friend then on to Gita's longed for, much anticipated, dal bhaat at home under Shivapuri's soothing shadow in Nepal.

While Shakun, Ms. Leah and I flew down to Mom's outside West Palm for ten days of parental embrace and ease. Mom is very relaxed now sans Dad's well-meaning but constant surgeon's intensity, anxiety and hyper-cleanliness. These days, Mom doesn't mind some dishes in the sink, some clothes lying around and the casual companionship that allows us to settle in on the couches to spend the day reading or out in the pool swimming laps or or watching TV or simply sitting here at her iMac writing friends...

The life of a family, diverging, coming together and then scattering again...