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.

A LETTER TO MYSELF

“If you had it all to do over,  would you fall in love with yourself again”

 

We all are happy to receive letters….. aren’t we? Though the days are gone now, taken over by technology, the posts that we used to receive are rarely seen. Times have changed, hand-written letters have transformed to emails. But that can’t stop anyone who still want to write. So why not write one to yourself when there is nobody to do so. And when in future you read it to yourself it will bring joy and happiness. We can all do that. At any age reading the same letter will always bring back some reaffirmation every time. Being nice to oneself, loving and taking care of oneself is very important. Only if we are happy and at peace with ourselves we can make our environment lovable.

 

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Believe it or not, self-investment does reap rich dividends. Loving yourself is not vanity, but it is sanity.  It is an honest letter to myself.

 

Dear Me,

 Let me first wish you all the love, luck and happiness in the years to come. 2016 had been a great year in all terms for you. I know you would not want to look back, for the resentful experience life had given you. You are secure, comfortable and pleased with the choices you have made in the last years. I know you are happy with the life you have lived, the dreams you have realized, the love you have created and the kids you have. Nothing is comparable to the affection of the kids you are getting. I am sure your conscience rests easy.

 I love how you have captured various appealing and engaging capacity over the years. From an impetuous, spontaneous, dogmatic, academic girl to a confident, self-reliant, independent woman you have come a long way. You have always been inquisitive, opinionated with multiple interests. You are a great company to be with, how easily you mingle with people.

 Sometimes you have been a bit head-strong, but I don’t think there is anything wrong if it is related to the decisions for yourself. The callibre of learning a bit about everything is the most I like about you. You have never given up on your morals, values and principles and kept them alive in your kids. You have lived life on your own terms. Do you remember how much you have laughed and then cried on things from the birth of your daughter to the love of your husband. I remember it all. The joyous moments, incredible love!!

 You are happy even today with those wrinkles, dark circles and the extra flesh on your body. You are scared of silly things even today. You give it all in raising your kids and being a decent human being.

Always remember you are Wonderful and Unique in your own ways!!!

 All good wishes for a healthy and happy life.

love you always

SHWETA

My life my choice

Somethings are really free in this world. And No, I am not talking about love, luck or destiny here. I am pointing out to that community or class of people who are never too busy or hesitant to share their piece of FREE ADVICE.

You just step out of your house and you meet your so-called well-wishers, just waiting to pounce their opinion and suggestions on any topic or issue. Yes, and they don’t even charge you for this, the nonessential consultation is just free of cost. You can catch or connect this species wherever you go. Not necessary to meet them in person, privileged on phone calls as well.

 

DON’T JUDGE MY CHOICES, WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING MY REASONS. DON’T WORRY ABOUT WHAT I’M DOING, WORRY ABOUT WHY YOU’RE WORRIED ABOUT WHAT I’M DOING.

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You must be wondering why am I criticizing them and why is there so much dislike for them. It is just because recently I have confronted them in bulk. But there is no kind of animosity or hatred, just that, it is annoying. At times you leave the house for a cheerful evening walk or some fresh air, but come back home resentful, irritated and argumentative.

I suppose it is no one’s fault. Neither the one who is advising, because this is genuinely done by them out of gratitude, nor your, because you are bound to be genuine to listen to all that crap.

“Don’t you feed your kids? Why are they so thin?”

“Give them this and give them that…blah blah…”

“What do you earn while working from home? Is it enough for yourself and your kids?”

“oh my God !! you have two kids and they are daughters…. God had been biased for you… one son could have changed your life !! “

These are all face-to-face conversations I have had in the past. They are harsh, annoying and relentless. Every decision is insanely analyzed. The offensive aunties or your same age women never miss an opportunity to bring you down. May be this is the only way to make them feel good about themselves. Perhaps they are idle, with really low self-esteem.

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Whatever be it, I have started fighting back. No one will say something rude or intrusive about me and my kids and expect to get away. I will give it back, sometimes sarcastically, at other times in an amusing retorts. And the underlying message would always be, “Mind Your Own Business”.

“My life,My Choice”. If you have a problem with that then keep it to yourself. Unless of course, you are planning to raise my kids, pay my bills, run my home, I have no interest in hearing what you think about my life choices.

It is a fact accepted by me that some people will remain morons, and I should stop being effected by them.

If your strength is small, don’t carry heavy burdens. If your words are worthless, don’t give advice.


 Bottom line: If my actions don’t concern you…..don’t concern yourself with my actions.

Unlimited FUN without poking your pockets

There can be nothing more exciting than looking forward to the weekends. My little girl wishes the weeks to be just five days where she can plan for three days school and two days unlimited fun on the weekend. She is well aware that mamma is surely going to plan something great for the weekend and I do. I make sure kids are not glued to the screen or spend an unplanned day which may leave them feel dis-organized and overwhelmed. Keeping most of the day unchanged and in routine like the week days I always try to plan an outing with kids.

This weekend we went to Sarasbaug,which is the heart of the city (Pune) and also houses a famous Ganesh Temple also known as Talyatla Ganpati. Thousands of devotees visit the temple daily and the number goes up on occasions and special days. After a little time spent inside the temple we headed towards the adjoining garden area.It is a big garden space with a few swings for children to play and an artificial lake. The lake also has a fountain. The trees and the grass are well maintained. Kids enjoyed playing for some time there, we took the badminton racquets and a ball. After spending about an hour in the greenery we moved out near the adjoining food joints.

Parking for four wheeler is a little problem but as we went there in a cab, it was easy for us.

As we entered the so called “Chaupati” area we could see huge giant wheel and other rides like Columbus, Mary-go-round, Tora-Tora and a few for small kids also, like the Chhota Bheem train and small car ride. The stall honchos rush towards the customer to lead them to their respective stalls. One can imagine the Chaupati similar to the Mumbai Chaupati. There are lots of food joints serving Bhel puri, Paani puri, Pav bhaji and other delicious eateries. They are serving the best chat varieties and other quick-bites including Chinese, South Indian and fast foods dishes. I personally suggest the bhel and pav bhaji, the must-haves and relished by us. Kids bought ballons and candy floss. I had my favorite sweetcorn. As the sun was setting the lights in the area made it a bright and gleamy affair. I could see kids enjoying every bit.

This is a centrally located place in the city, just a kilometer away from the main Swargate bus stand. Commuting is not a problem due to easily available bus and auto-rickshaw services. It proved to be a great place for kids to spend time and take rides. The climate was also one of the factors we enjoyed the outing. The day was spent well within a budget of 5-6 hundred rupees, of course excluding our cab ride to and fro.

My girls are ready to spend another day there, playing and enjoying rides. Being a single parent I want to ensure my girls are getting their share of fun moments like any other child with both parents around. My motto is to guarantee fun and joyful moments as memories and create a strong bond as siblings and as mother-daughter accord. So I keep trying to make the weekends more energizing, wonderful and entertaining.

The much needed “ME-TIME”

I think I have been doing too much and close to my limits. I have been worrying and disheartened enough, not taking time out for myself, maybe. Sometimes you feel so low that even a little thing can bring in the emotional turmoil. People around you actually notice the frustration. I think that’s clearly not fair to starve yourself of some “me-time”.

Everyday we feed our ourselves, our families, our kids and sometimes our friends. But we forget to remember to feed our soul.

Today was that day for me. I woke up early and finished things. Felt contented and convinced. Then had a nap in the afternoon. Went to my friend’s house for tea. Spent sometime in a quiet house with my friend. Talked over that cup of tea, lots and loads of things. Sharing my thoughts, cribbing about things, being a braggart. Not to mention our girly talks. Not worrying about what has happened and what is going to happen. I relaxed and I chatted. I need not mention what I have been stressed about.

 

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What a wonderful time. Sometimes we need quiet and peace inside our minds and outside our bodies. No T.V, no door-bells, no kids. Only calm and hushed.

I suggest everyone to do what they need to feed their souls. Write or read, nap or chat, whatever it is that makes you cool, serene and peaceful. It is not a waste of time or being selfish. It is as much necessary as feeding your tummies. It leads to healthy relationships and healthy YOU within.

Feed your soul for the wholesomeness for your thoughts in any way or anywhere, at home, at play or at work. Feed your soul with good books, real friends or meditation. Its only about spending sometime of your own and gaining peace inside to fight more battles which are yet to come.

CHEERS

Ask Me the Time…..!!!

I have been disciplining my kids too much, I think. What goes in, comes back. The way I’ve been instructing them, my girls are learning well, especially the younger one. Many times in a day I am telling them the right time to do things pointing the watch and what it says, like “It’s eating time”, “It’s sleeping time”’, “It’s playing time” and blah blah blah. Today the little one was wearing her watch and here is our conversation :

ANIKA : Ask me what the time is.

Me : What time is it, ANIKA?

ANIKA : my watch says it’s ICE CREAM time. It says we have to eat the ICE CREAM right now. Can we?

Me : Uh..

ANIKA :

Me :

ANIKA :

Me :

ASHITA : (whispers) Say yes.

ME : (sisters conspiracy I’m sure) Hmmmm