My name is Jaya Pandey and I live in Franklin with my husband and sons. I have two boys ( Ajey 20 and Anand 17) My younger one has Autism.
For years, I have been working on raising awareness about Autism, specially in Indian community. This year it’s finally taking shape the way I imagined. My idea is all about Moms helping other moms and be each other’s resource person.
Please spread the word, Just let people know that they are not alone. I always feel we forget to take care of caregivers in the family. I am reaching out to you hoping you would let people know if you come across someone who needs help.
Phone rings and you make a choice of taking the call. With 100s of things going on I decided to take that call and I am so glad I did.
Sometimes you just need affirmation of things you do and reminder why you do that and many a times you needed to be reminded of a bigger picture. I always thought I can see through things, I can be a visionary and think out of the box but many a times I get stuck with “Now” and struggle with it. It’s difficult to come out of that state and not think like a typical person. And then there are friends who remind you what is important in life.
I usually thought I was a happy person and many a time its true but at the same time I know I don’t handle criticism well, my older son reminds me so much of that. Its worst knowing your weakness and not able to fix that. Over the years, I am learning and handling it much better.
One thing I know for sure that I am a magnet to good people, know how to find them and keep them for life.
Lucky me that I am surrounded by the people who support me in whatever I do. The mom’s network I am trying to build is one of those things in my life I am very proud of.
At the same time, I am learning how difficult it is to have 100+ women in a place and not deter from your vision and support everyone the way you can, also to inspire them to support each other. I so want all of them to think out of the box and be nice and support each other. “Share” the knowledge and be there for each other. But does it have to come out from within? You cannot teach anyone? I wonder many a times if I am doing is useless or doesn’t make a difference or doesn’t make sense to many. But a friend jokes that she is going out of the way to give ride to someone because she thought of me, that makes more sense. I feel so confused sometimes but that’s why we have a phone line : ) so people can call and remind what matters most in life.. pay it forward.
Having said that things fall into place. Thank you for all those Bday messages, I am so looking forward to growing up and enjoying what is important in life..
Ajey and I in Cambridge..
My Facebook status said that day
A young immigrant mom, a nomad in me, was always missing the anchor in my life, I belonged to no place and was always in search of “home”. Soon I realized I am a global citizen and will always be a restless soul. An Italian friend of mine always appreciated everything Indian. Ajey’s 4th grade teacher and then many more non Indian friends always had questions about our life.. And then I found Jhumpa Lahiri’s NameSake, since then it has become my way of explaining my life.
Ajey read this book few years ago to understand his mom better. When It came as a movie we both were disappointed that it was shot in NYC not Boston. In the book the mom goes to a café in Cambridge, that becomes her place. Ajey took me to café Pamplona couple of years ago and since then it has become my place too. He took me there again yesterday to start my Bday week kick off celebration and we watched the movie together again..this book and movie strikes different cord every time and the conversation we have afterwards are like peeling onion. We get to know another part of each other. I think if nothing else, I have done one thing right.. made him a good man.. what else I can ask for.
About the Group:
Making of a village. A desi one
The energy, the laughter, the happiness and the excitement in that room was so obvious, for a moment I forgot that these are the moms whose lives are far from easy and it was nothing short of miracle to have all of them there in one room on a cold, Friday night in December. BUT they were there and were REALLY present, the feeling of gratitude washes over me as I write this. Some day you really need an assurance with what you are doing is right, it was one of those night.
I have been planning for this for sometimes now and wasn’t sure how will it work out. Venue, time, date, convenience and logistics too many things to worry about, ON top of that we are special mothers, nothing is certain in our life. One meltdown can change the direction of the day. I haven’t met most of them in person so no one knew what to expect, and to give an evening to someone you never met is little too much to ask and I totally get it.
A friend and I joked that we might end up alone. Well, I believed in the mission and decided to go ahead with the plan. I am sure there were many questions in everyone’s mind about the whole idea. Meanwhile some of them read some of my blogs, some read Saree stories and I am sure some agreed just for the curiosity. As day drew closer more agreed. I think it was peer pressure in that what’s app group. A night before we learnt the restaurant won’t take the reservations for Friday night. These are the times you thank your stars, a friend who owns a restaurant agreed to host us. Meanwhile another persistent mother could finally convince the Olive Garden manager and we were in. Friday morning, we were around 18-20 mothers. By the time, we met we were party of 27. When I walked in I was a happy and worried woman, I really wanted everyone to have great time. The manager gave us a room and the best staff. We met, we laughed, hugged, complimented, commented and joked. We did introductions, we shared our dreams and celebrated what we have and decided not to worry about what we don’t have. We promised to help and support each other. We posed and took pictures. Someone toasted for positivity in life. We joked with our wait staff and had so much fun that other people in restaurant asked the manager what kind of celebration was going on. I am sure they were in shock knowing we were special mothers. We all walked in not knowing many and after more than three and half hour we left having many by our side. Promised each other to meet soon. I drove back home with gratitude in my heart. So many emotions and so many happy faces, that’s all I can remember.
The next morning my phone was buzzing with messages and pictures. One of them said it was one of the best night she ever had, the other said it was her first night of this kind and she is glad she came. One said she thought her life was just cooking, cleaning and taking care of kid but that night she found something beyond that.
I was asked to plan another one soon. The moms who couldn’t make that night want to make sure they attend the next one.
That one night redefined strength, motherhood, optimism, enthusiasm, persistence, support, hope, confidence and sisterhood. I always believed in having girlfriend support system, I am so glad many of those have a village of their own now.
This beauty is a gift from a high school friend’s wife, whom I never met. He came to see us in Boston when he visited NJ for work. I think he spent more time in flight and on road than with us. we are not only lucky to have great friends but their spouses in our life too.