Moving On

Decided I should squeeze in one final post for the year. And why not? The year deserves it! ūüôā It has been quite good to me… settling into a new home, new schools for the girls, new workplace and managed to be new to blogging also.

It’s been a year in which many near and dear ones have gone through crazy downs, thankfully to come up on top. Each instance I tell myself to count my blessings and not let the daily irritations grow into bigger irritations. It should be pretty easy to implement but it never is somehow. All it takes is a wet towel left lying on the bed or the maid walking in twenty minutes late or the child spilling something to let loose a tirade. In fairness to me, many times I do count to ten and move on. Many times I don’t also.

So this coming year, I want to do just one thing… take it a day at a time and enjoy my time with my friends and family. And by enjoy I don’t¬†mean go bunjee-jumping or drive down to Goa on a whim but just enjoy the blessing that they are around me and would stand by me no matter what. Unconditional love. Need to give and so receive.

Wish you all a joyous and safe celebration into 2012!

Little Bit of Me

Recently I was engaged in two different conversations that finally had me thinking about the same thing. The first conversation was with a very close friend, newly married and contemplating whether or not to have child in the near future. The second conversation was triggered by Aamir Khan’s baby news and the discussion revolved around surrogacy versus adoption. While I dwelled on both later in the silence of the night, it seemed to come around to the same question – why do we have children?

To most of us it is a natural progression – single to spouse to parent. The need to procreate is part of the human DNA some say. Survival of the race. Continuation of the family genes. Because we can.

It seems this day and age is many a times questioning this philosophy. I am sure it is not the first generation to raise questions but certainly the questions are being raised in a time where is no dearth of medium. You can reach out to anyone in any corner of the world and learn their view and share your own. So much so that as is the norm, someone somewhere has funded another curious soul to do a ‘study’ on such a question. A friend and college professor shared the results of one such study with his friends (and by share I mean he posted it on his Wall). Reactions were mostly unpleasant. He was still single but his friends had progressed to parent. And they were offended that even this one emotional bond between parent and child is not spared and is put under the microscope for convenient interpretations. Parents don’t find joy in parenting it said. It is too much of a chore and does not make economic sense it seems. I debunked it angrily too.

Yet, we all surely know someone who has decided to set aside a life of diapers and baby bottles for a career advancement or the time and space to travel the world. Whether a child and such choices are mutually exclusive is an entirely different debate all together. But they have made the fundamental decision that procreation is a choice and they are not interested.

I tried to tell my friend that there would never be a perfect time to start a family. A better time maybe but never perfect. And how it would complete them as a couple not isolate them. But my arguments were not very convincing, even to me. Perhaps because I never had to convince myself or my husband. There was no decision. It was decided. Even the second child was a natural progression.

At times when the road from spouse to mother looked like a mirage, I remember bringing up adoption. More as a conversation starter than an actual plan. The spouse was not interested. It would be our child only. Perhaps an early reaction because our situation was not so grim that this needed to be a real option.

But this explains why a 45-year-old man and 38-year-old woman would prefer surrogacy over adoption. My flesh and blood. Fear of the unknown. Fear of invisible medical history. Fear of untraceable genes. But as another friend pointed out, isnt life a vast unknown as is? How much do we really know about our ancestors? Yet there is a feeling of oneness, security and predictability.

I look at K and V. They are a little bit of me and little bit of him. But they are mostly K and V. Two lives that complete ours. Who knows what the future will bring. And what part of the past it will pick and choose from. Que Sera, Sera.

Gift of Time

Ten years.¬†That’s a really long time. Or is it?

Ten years ago….

I was a young girl in love desperately trying to convince my parents to accept my choice. It was a long hard battle but finally both sides emerged victorious. My parents had the humility and generosity to say that they are not giving in but accepting and celebrating my choice. This gesture set the tone for all the new relationships that were being forged. My in-laws accepted me with such open arms that I continue to be thankful.

So, yes it is a marriage of two families in this country. But finally it comes down to the two of us. And I am truly blessed to have had the rollercoaster ride that the last ten years have been. As a young college student how did I know that this man was the one? And how did I get it so right? My first and only love.

Together we have set up home in five different places, each time starting anew with new hopes and dreams. Some homes brought us great joy and success, some not so much. But at each instance we stuck together and fought our battles together.

Over the years, with the arrivals of our two angels, so many things seemed to fill the space between us. So this year, as a toast to our tenth one together, we gave each other the gift of time. A day off from the routine. No baby bags, no work related calls on the go, no watch ticking away saying times up.

It’s so comforting that we could just spend the day with each other and have so much to say, so much we want to do together, so many comfortable silences. Shopping, a relaxed cup of coffee, more shopping, a leisurely lunch by the poolside of a classy restaurant, a movie with popcorn and coke, a tired drive back home to our welcoming angels.

I think we really needed this. To recharge ourselves for the next ten, then next twenty and so on and so forth.

We should really do this more often, he says. I silently nod and smile.

So no diamonds or gold or gadgets or exotic trips…. just a simple gift of time.

Here’s to 10 years and many many more, my love!

Precious!

I was a green file that grew up and became a blue file. My gynec’s¬†office used colour-coded files to distinguish her patients. After a year of struggling with infertility and a green file (I wonder if she noticed the irony in this), I had finally achieved what every patient dreams of – a blue file. Like the two blue lines on the home pregnancy test. Onward march to Motherhood! But blue was not¬†a simple march either. The blue file was a ‘precious pregnancy’. Ofcourse¬†it’s precious,¬†I first thought, this is MY baby! Then I learnt that it was a medical term (one which is conceived after a long time or there are previous miscarriages or abortions).

Slowly we told close friends and relatives. The congratulatory messages started pouring in as did loads and loads of advice. Advice by the truckloads on food, sleep, work, exercise… oh the list was endless. But the one theme I picked up was pretty simple – Listen to your Mom and Listen to your Body.

So I did just that. I became a happy little child once again. The initial morning sickness was pretty mild compared to horror stories I have heard but my body demanded one thing – Mom’s cooking. Anything she made I loved. ūüôā So a real win-win for both of us. My mom really knew how to take care of me – her little girl. Your days are numbered my husband would say. Soon her grandchild will be her world! I decided to enjoy it while it lasts!

And this liberated me. My entire pregnancy I was effortlessly¬†able to maintain something I felt was very important¬†– a positive mind frame. If my body said take a day off and rest, I would. If my body craved some ice-cream¬†(which it did just around the time I knew my husband would be driving back home, crossing my favourite¬†ice-cream¬†shop!), then that’s what I¬†ate. If Mom said eat sprouts, they are good protein then sprouts it was. If Mom said walk to the temple and back atleast thrice a week, then her little girl did just that.

With the combined wisdom of my Mom (which really is the combined wisdom of her mom and hence so many generations of wonderful women who made lovely babies) and my Body, it was quite a breeze. I enjoyed my nine months Рlistening to Shiva chants, eating healthy home food, chatting and laughing with my family, resting and storing sleep for crazy nights up ahead.

And then one rainy night in September, I went into labour and by seven in the morning little K was in my arms. She was so Precious!

** This blog post is an entry to the Women’s Web ‘Passport to a Healthy Pregnancy’ contest **

Flying Visit

Secretly I am looking forward to my trip tomorrow, even though my day will start at 4am and drag on till midnight. It will be my first post-V trip, leaving her in the safe hands of her father and grandparents. And of course¬†big sister K. Am sure she will be asleep by the time I reach back home so technically I would not have left her “alone” overnight. A nice slap in the face to Momma’s guilt. ūüôā

So I am looking forward to being alone in the airport, maybe window shopping and sipping an over-priced latte. Then escaping into my iPad during the flight, watching my favourite shows and podcasts. Then actually eating my airline meal without a baby on my lap and one at the side stealing my sugar packets. (yes, I actually enjoy airline food – that is how much I long for this solitude).

I will physically be in another town. You know where my mind and heart will be. Wonder if V woke up and asked for me. Wonder if they had their fun weekend bath together yet. Wonder if they are going out with Daddy to the park. Wonder what I should buy for them.

I haven’t even boarded the flight and I miss them already! ūüôā

Thank you Steve

Thank you Mr. Jobs Steve.

I feel a personal loss. I feel as though I knew him and he most definitely knew me.

He knew I would love the look and feel of it.

He knew I loved to nonchalantly swipe my finger across the screen and move from one baby picture to the next.

He knew I liked to pinch V’s little cheeks with my two fingers and enlarge the digital smile.

He knew I loved sitting up late syncing those Sesame Street podcasts that let K casually throw words like ‘predicament’ and ‘octagon’ when she was just four.

He knew that my Mom’s face would light up when she tilted the screen and her grand-daughter’s face moved with her.

He knew my Dad would love the detailed market and match updates in the middle of anywhere.

He knew that hubby dear would want to remember some obscure place or face and would turn to me and say, “just google it on your phone, na?”.

When I was confirmed to my bed for over 7 months, the iPhone was all I needed for company. I could be anywhere and do anything. And now with the iPad.

Such a genius. Thank you for everything, Steve. Rest in Peace.

Natural Order of Things

Recently a celebrity-cricketer lost his 19-year-old son in a ghastly road accident. Young boy, new bike, excessive speed – recipe for disaster. Yet, something you would not wish upon your worst enemy. A young mother’s tweet summed it up perfectly – ‘it’s against the natural order of things for parents to outlive their kids’.¬†

Everyday with a heart full of love, I go about doing some very mundane tasks. It is usually 10 pm and the kids have finally decided to let the wave of fatigue and sleep take over. The house is silent, a very comforting silence that I tiptoe through. The father is either travelling or yet to get back home and snooze in front of the blinking lights of the television on mute.

In this stillness, I go about my little jobs. Wash and rinse V’s baby bottles and let the sterilizer take over. Check the school bag for four (yes, always has to be four) sharpened pencils, current favourite eraser and a set of crayons. Scrape the mud off the school shoes and buff them up for another rough day at the office. Put away the toys that lie across the battlefield otherwise known as the living room. Iron K’s uniform and pack the sports gear for the next day. All very simple tasks. I go about it quietly, without any fanfare.

But the thing is, in my mind, only I can do all these things in a perfectly orderly fashion. I am the super-glue that keeps things sane. Who else will remember that its Wednesday and the library book has to be carried to school? Who else will carefully spread a layer of cheese spread for K’s sandwich that’s just the right thickness? Who else will surprise her with a few scoops of Glucon-C in the water bottle once a week? Who else will make sure we reach the bus in time so that she catches her favourite seat, from where she can wave to Momma till the bus turns the last bend? Who else will make sure V wakes up to her best friend –¬† the pigeon toy?

Am I sounding like an ordinary Mom with a super-inflated ego? I’m not one. We all have our little routines with our loved one. Am sure the father has his own little world where its only him and the kids. It’s what makes each day so simple and joyous.

All I am saying is that this is the natural order of things. I need to do this for them. I need to be there for them. My heart has two little nooks just their size. And when I come home after a long, tiring day at work – they are there for me. Four arms outstretched together to fit a Momma just my size.

Are you Happy?

Are you Happy, my little one?

K & V will always be my little babies. Every child is so special and just wraps itself around your heart so tight¬†that sometimes it’s difficult to breathe. Every moment of every day I want them to be happy and secure. But that’s not really possible is it? I’m just setting myself up for a whole lot of heartache if I let every frown of their’s squeeze my heart.

It just seems that today’s kids have so many more worries than we every did as children. They know so much more and want to know even more and experience way too much more. Peer pressure and the need to fit it and the need to shine in everything they do – it all starts way too early.

I tend to agree with Tiger Mom. Though I havent read her book yet I have read various ‘opinions’ and¬†I thought she brought her point across very well on (of all places!) Bill Maher’s show.

Appreciation needs to be earned. And when we create kids with high self-esteem with very little achievement to back it up, we¬†really aren’t¬†doing them any¬†favours. So with minimal efforts, kids hear applause. And on occasions, when effort has been poured in and there is silence, it sets the stage for huge disappointments and creates quitters.

Have I digressed? 

Anyway, getting back to where I started… all I wish for my little angels is that they are able to enjoy the journey. I will cheer them on endlessly but they will hear ‘great job done’ only when it’s a great job done.

I wonder if I can really do this without squeezing my heart to death!

Skip the middle

I start every Monday morning by counting down to Friday evening. The five days in the middle are just fillers. A road I must traverse to get to the other side. And it’s not that something magical or mind-blowing is waiting for me at the other end! Sometimes the two days are more stressful, activity-packed and tiring that the five days put together. Still. They’re mine.

Maybe I should try and add more life to the in-between days. Yes, brilliant plan. As it is I am squeezing 30 hours into 24. Why not add a couple more?!

Arrival

So¬†I have finally found my way here. And after so many years of reading what others have to say, why am I here? Actually a friend’s short note on her daughter’s first day at school triggered this. I realised that everyday my angels give me so much love, so much fun, so much grief and so many memories. What if I forget all the little things? It’s the little things that are truly worth remembering. K will be six soon and V is one. Better late than never.

So here’s my attempt to keep it light, keep it fun and keep it forever!

Hop on board! ūüôā