The other day was Nayan's first day of kindergarten. This was a bitter sweet moment for me. While I'm overjoyed Nayan is growing up to be a mature, articulate, and thoughtful young boy, its sad, in a way, to know he's growing up. I recall distinctly when I was 17, waving goodbye to all of my family and friends, as I boarded an airplane to head off to Chicago and my new college life; my family and friends were so emotional -- sad, and crying. In me, there was no sadness; I had to pinch myself to stop from smiling; I was thrilled at arriving in my new life and leaving my small town world behind. Without a doubt, when that day comes with Nayan waving goodbye to me, I'll be a real emotional mess.
Despite the teachers rounding us parents up and taking us to the "cry" room - no one was outwardly sad, most of the moms were just grinning looking forward to their precious hours of freedom. There were, however, many practical concerns. Nayan has never been away from home for such a long duration. Simply getting him to eat his lunch is a whirlwind of a challenge. Well he learned quickly. After 3 days of stubbornly refusing to eat anything but the cookies in his lunch, he ultimately caught on.
I was also concerned about Nayan getting picked on for his patka. Nayan has recently decided he will be a proper Sikh and never cut his hair. As others, Ameen and I were quite surprised by his decision, and powerful will. Nayan has virtually no role models here in the states who have kept their hair, but his dearest cousins in India all have their hair kept. Ameen, after many failed trips to the barber, ultimately relented. So it turns out no one teased him, as Ameen was certain would be the case. Our neighborhood is really full of such open minded and caring people. Thank God we don't live in France, where Nayan would have been ejected from the school system for simply following his faith.