Just last week was Diwali, the Indian festival of lights that is now celebrated universally. It is a celebration of good over evil and light over darkness.
This was my first Diwali spent with none of my two children at home and it was a new experience for me.
With my son now working far away and my daughter in college, my husband and I found ourselves alone. I would be lying if I said I did not miss my kids this Diwali.
I would also be lying if I said our festivities were very different compared to all the times when the children were home.
The reason is that call schedules do not differentiate. Because call schedules do not know whether it is Diwali, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Christmas. Call is call and you make the best of it.
And we had a lot of calls to do between my husband and me. So we did what we could and celebrated how we could.
If you found time to make some home-prepared sweets, dress up, and light firecrackers, great! If you managed to get a simple home-cooked meal on the table in a fairly clean home, with a lit scented candle, perfect!
Even dressing up in festive clothing can be much work and sometimes not worth the hustle. Especially if you have to quickly change back into your scrubs and run out the door.
So we made the most of it whenever we could. But mainly, we enjoyed being with each other. We somehow always managed to get a few diyas lit and do a prayer together, even if it was occasionally the next day.
Now in hindsight, I realize that every day that we spent as a family together was a celebration.
Traditions are important and rituals and festivities do provide comfort, joy, and familiarity. What is not important is the stress around the holidays.
My message to you women docs and all others during the holidays is simple. Do what you can, as much as you can, given the constraints at the time.
In the end what you will remember more are the warm hugs, the beautiful faces of your children, and the heartfelt conversations that took place.
Do make sure to provide hot cocoa and some cookies.
Dr. Anupama Verma is the Editor-in-Chief of the Women in White Coats blog and a CoAuthor of “The Chronicles of Women in White Coats” book two. She is a nephrologist who has been practicing for more than fifteen years and has lived on four continents.