I miss my DAD

My younger one was 3.5 months when she lost her father. She holds no memories of her daddy and never asks questions or brings him up. She is a happy, well-adjusted, smart, and lovable four years old. She just also happens to be a kid who’s dad died way too young. Truth be told, I don’t worry about my younger one nearly as much as I do my older daughter, because she was a little older and seems to have a harder time with her loss.

This all changed recently.

As we drove to a trip to Pondicherry my little lady piped up from playing on the beach and said:

“Mommy, I miss my daddy.”

Just like that, out of the random blue, and like a sword, through my heart, she uttered those words that rendered me utterly speechless. Through quiet tears and a cracked-voiced, I just responded…

“I know buddy, and I miss him too.”

We continued to talk about HIM, and as the questions poured out of her, I could see by the expression on her little face that it was all soaking in. She continued to probe until she was done and the subject changed just as quickly as it had come up in the first place.

 

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I dropped my happy go lucky little girl from my hand, and she ran off laughing and smiling like she always does. However, I was left reeling and feeling a pain that has become all too familiar in the past four years. Through quiet reflection and lots of deep breaths, I came to a straightforward conclusion.

I can’t fix this.

There is nothing I can do to give my children their father back. There is nothing I can do to give them their innocence lost or security they may have had in their invincible parents back. Death stole these things from them, and I am incapable of fixing that reality.

My kids know loss.

My kids know death.

My kids miss their dad. Period.

End of story. End of discussion.

Or is it?

What my children also know is resiliency.

They know that life is made up of choices and that when all seems lost, we can still make the choices in this life to be and do more. They know from a tender age that bad things happen, but that buoyancy can help to carry them through very dark days. They have learned that why we may never move ON, we can move forward in a new and different path.

My children know love.

They know that people die, but even in death we still can love them beyond this world. They know that the people who remain in their present life love them deeply and care for their happiness. They know that community matters, choices matter, LIFE matters.

My children know joy.

We practice happiness in our house because we have known the worst sadness possible. We grasp at the good and practice counting the blessing that surrounds us daily.

I can’t fix what has happened in our lives.

All I can do is continue to live, answer the hard questions when they come up, and show my babies why we all deserve to live a beautiful life.

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NO, Sorry ! I can’t CHANGE !

As a mom, I’m carrying a lot on my shoulders: Taking care of my house, myself, work and my (adorable) kids. With so much to juggle, I’m not going to get it right all the time. It’s normal to feel like I could do better (everyone does!). You see those moms who look like they’ve got it all — perfectly cropped hair, a smiley, happy kid/kids, a killer framework of body and floorboards that sparkle — and it’s hard not to get jealous.

 “When I first had my daughter, I judged all of my mommy friends for the things they did because I wasn’t doing them. I felt like I had to give myself the confidence boost by thinking that they were doing something wrong.”

 

I have two girls. The elder one is almost touching 10 and the younger one is rolling towards being 4.5. Of course motherhood has changed me completely and it has been an overwhelming experience till now . I have been a hands-on mom from the day they were born. With little help around, I juggled my postpartum, diaper saga, baby food, vomits , their massages & baths and every milestone alone. Infact, while the younger girl was born, I was a SOLO mom. I believe that I have evolved and grown beautifully as a Mom.

All was well and I thought I was doing pretty well as a mom , till about recently when my elder one threw a bombs at me. One fine day she asked me nonchalantly – “Why can’t you be like the other moms ?” Me under the shock of her statement had no clue what she meant as till now I felt I was good at my craft and was doing well but suddenly I felt like a failure. So I sat down focusing not to lose my calm and asked her to elaborate so I could decode the hidden meaning of her statement. She started off like she has been waiting to tell me all this.

She started by saying “I DON’T THINK OTHER MOMS BEHAVE OR DO STUFF LIKE YOU DO MOM” ! and I was like okaaaay ..no ? really ? LIKE WHAT ?? And then came out a long list of the things which me as a mom should not be doing at all.

 LIST AS PER HER ! 

  • Why can’t you stop giving us these weird lovey dovey names which make no sense and just call us with our real names instead?
  • Why do you keep dancing around the house with your earphones and don’t care about what if someone is watching you?
  • Why do you sing for us loudly using all those weird names ?
  • Why do you have to be so friendly with my friends when you meet them?
  • Why do u keep putting ghee in my Rajma-Chawal, Dal-Chawal ? I don’t want to turn fat like you ! Ouch .. and that was for me
  • Why do u make funny faces and make me laugh when I don’t want to?
  • Why can’t you be serious like other moms?
  • Why are you fat and short and not slim like the other Moms around?

Time to speculate . My girl wants me to change me and my ways of showing love. I gave her a tight hug and said that I am going to seriously think on these points . Contended she went back to her room and left me reeling under the thunderous effect of her TED Talk ! She doesn’t like me doing all this ? Really ? I am fat ?

And So, it was time for some real thinking and a glass of chilled wine .

 

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We never know what destiny holds for us. So why don’t we stop rushing and slow down and live each day to its fullest today. Any which ways one day she will have to move away from me for the sake of learning or earning. Wish I could change/edit the list on her mind and excuse myself.

So do you think I should abide by all her rules and surrender and change my ways …? I have written this for my kids and I want them to learn and understand each and every sentence of this letter.

 

Hey kids,

I’m not like the other moms.

I’m not all that different from them, either. But, I’m not competing. And, I’m not comparing myself to them. I’m not trying to do what they do, because I’ve worked a long time to try to accept that I can only do my best.

You see, there’s a big life lesson I want to teach you here. I’m not like the other moms because I don’t want to be. I want to be YOUR mom. And, I believe I was meant to be your mom for a reason. Imperfections and all.

That means there will be days where I yell, and days where I have the patience of the Dalai Lama. There will be days when I forget it’s a party at school, and days when I’m so on top of it that I craft things I find on pinterest.

Here’s the thing. I don’t want you to be like the other kids just as much as I don’t want to be like the other moms. I want you to be you. Be confident in who you are. Own your mistakes and live up to your full potential. Don’t compare yourself to someone else’s accomplishments, and don’t gloat when you succeed and someone else doesn’t.

In fact, don’t look to your right or to your left at all. Look ahead. Do your best. And, be you.

I’m not like the other moms because I can only be me. There is only one you, too. It’s a miracle how unique we all are, and I believe the universe brought your mom (me) and you together for a purpose. So, don’t be upset if you see another mom doing different things than your mom is doing. Your mom is tailor-made to help you in the way you need it.

I’m going to try every day to do my best as I parent you. Remember I love you fiercely.

 

The name tags given to you originate from the deepest love and affection I have for you. The extra ghee in your food is so that you grow healthy and strong. I make funny faces to cheer you up during your tiring and sometimes boring tuition classes and it sure does bring a smile to your face. I wish to make your friends feel at home and so the little chat with them is important at times. So basically things are going to be stay pretty much the same but one thing that is going to change in that list is your concern on the way your mom looks. Though I know what a lazy procrastinator I can be when it comes to working out but I understood your outlook on this and I promise to be a fitter-slimmer mom for you, at least I can try, so that you don’t feel embarrassed any more.

But till that time let’s make more wonderful memories for you. Please remember how cool and chilled out your mom was . My only endeavour now is to be a friend to you that just being a mom so you could confide in me anytime.

Sorry, but there’s no easy answer here. We wish there was (really, we do!), but for every mom, dealing with the mommy wars is different, so it’s going to take some time before you get this whole mommy gig right. Think of  your mistakes more like bumps along the road. It’ll take some time before things are totally smoothed out, so in the meantime, do your best to make it through. It’s really not about what (or who’s) right or wrong — it’s really just about learning to trust your choices and those mom instincts. You can’t be perfect all the time (and besides, who would want to be?) — but as long as kids are happy, healthy and cared for, we think we’re doing a great job.