Last few days have been tough. First Samaira had a stomach bug. She had it for 48 hours and then she was beginning to feel better. Literally as soon as she stopped throwing up, Rehan started throwing up and showing signs of the stomach bug that Sammy had. His lasted for a day, I think. He seemed to have recovered remarkably in that much time. And just as Rehan began to get better Siddharth started to show signs of illness. The hope is that it will all be ok before soon and I can still do my after Christmas shopping just fine :).
Anyway, with just a few more days to go before 2014 begins, I get flashes of 2013, in a totally filmi way. I sometimes have music playing in my head too. Not kidding. Seriously. I like drama that way.
I love to write. So I miss writing. I write plenty in my head. Moments happen whether or not I write them down. I try to capture it all in my memory. Sometimes I try to capture things in my memory with the intention of recalling them later. There are two things that I really enjoy from the past – moments & pictures. Therefore I like to document them both.
It has been a beautiful year. This year was filled with so many specials. It is like a lot of things I had hoped for our family got packaged into one single year. I figured the best way to end 2013 was to package all my memories into one place.
So here it is. All about my 2013.
We celebrated Samaira’s 1st birthday this year. Well, it was technically in December 2012, but she fell sick. And we had to, had to celebrate it. So we did, a few days later. At this age, birthdays are more for us. She probably remembers nothing of it. It was like it was all for me. Siddharth is more satisfied with smaller, more personal moments. I somehow feel the need to a wider declaration and celebration. So we did that. And I will always cherish it. The day we celebrated my baby turning ONE.
I spent some time with my nieces in India earlier this year. Spending time with my nieces is always special for me. It was even more special this time around as I got to watch them play with Samaira. They treated her with absolute love, care and compassion. The kind I didn’t think 3 or 5 year olds could possibly have. They surprise me every single time I see them. What I mostly evidently saw was how my sister has made us a very integral part of her family. We live far from each other. We see each other rather infrequently. But we are constantly connected, especially emotionally. I don’t know how my sister has managed to do this, but my nieces think of my kids as their own siblings. They don’t treat them different from each other. They don’t think of my kids as a separate entity from each other. My sister rocks! I love her to pieces! I count on her in ways that even I don’t know. After many many years, my brother, sister & fam, Mom, Dad and us four got together in one single place at one single time. I treasure it. Like my life. I love each of these people like there is no tomorrow. I have this special place in my heart that each of these people occupy. And that special place in my heart is pretty much my entire heart. Yes, I do love them a lot.
Another massive highlight for us was transitioning to become a four member family. When we had just one child, I thought that was a handful. I thought that it will be very difficult to make room for one more child, who needed just as much, if not more, attention. While there are challenges in taking care of two kids versus one, it kind of just happens. It is not easy by any means. There are sleepless nights, poopy diapers, delayed schedules, overdue task lists, messy rooms, dirty laundry, days/nights when Siddharth has to travel for work, times when both Samaira and Rehan have a stomach bug, dinner/lunch time issues, kids pulling each other’s hair out, you name it. It is messy for sure. For the most part, we are focusing our energy not on fixing the messy home, but going with the flow. The beauty lies in embracing the chaos and yet maintaining what is most important to you. Here is the funny thing though. I have read and heard about people wondering why they would ever want to have kids. They have this perfectly content and awesome life in which they can travel when they want, sleep when they want, pursue all the hobbies as and when they want, eat when they want. Essentially live life how they want. Why then would anyone want to have kids? To have sleepless nights? To take on the additional responsibility of feeding, bathing, diaper-changing, and care taking? The funny part is, I have no response to questions along this line. All I can think to myself is that Samaira and Rehan bring so much joy to our lives. And I can’t imagine my life without their joys. Their one smile, one look, one gesture, one sound, one sigh, most things essentially – it is all worth it. I am one of those delusional parents who claim that their life is incomplete without their kids, in spite of all that comes in the package deal. It is really hard for me to articulate why my life is so awesome. I think the statement of “I have an awesome life with my two kids and one husband” is something that only a fellow parent can fully comprehend. It is not a mythical statement. It is for real. And you can only know it if you feel it for yourself. Until then, feel free to question it :).
Samaira gives Rehan the warmest of hugs. Rehan’s eyes light up when he sees Samaira. Their chemistry is beautiful to watch. Along with this, I also get to witness the beauty of Samaira pulling Rehan’s hair, sometimes just to see how we will react. I get to see Rehan flailing his hands and accidentally grabbing Samaira’s hair and Samaira saying “ouwwiiiee” with a very sad face. Sometimes it takes me into the future in which these two kids will fight like cats and dogs, you know, how typical siblings do. I remember how I constantly fought with my brother and sister. I know how my nieces fight with each other. I like how my sister deals with such situations. Essentially by not interfering and letting my nieces resolve their own fights. Well, most of their fights anyway. I am not sure what I would do when Samaira and Rehan will come crying to me complaining about each other and about how the other person snatched something from them, or pinched them, or took something away. My inherent nature is to interfere. Only with the ones I care, or else I stay out a 100%. But if you are one of the people I care about, I interfere. That’s how I am wired. So to not say one way or the other would be hard. But I really want to adopt that style of letting them be and allowing them to figure out how to resolve their differences, as long as they are not hurting each other.
Another special time in this year was celebrating Diwali with my family after 11 years. It is by far the most important festival I have celebrated growing up. I remember enjoying every aspect of it growing up – the food, the clothes, the light, the fireworks, the people, the family, the traditions, the whole deal. Spending this special festival with my family after so long meant HUGELY to me. I tried to capture the good parts of that evening in my mind so I can relive it over and over again. That’s how I want my every Diwali to be. I wish I could spend it with my family every single year!
We also celebrated Samaira’s 2nd birthday this year! Our darling is all of two. It is unreal. I can’t believe I ever wished for her to say no. That was the time when all Samaira said was “ya” and she didn’t yet have the “n” sound. And now that girl has her n’s and no’s and she knows when to use it. Sometimes when I sing her a song or a story or a rhyme she says no indicating she is all done with it. When she does not want to eat something she says and never returns to it – for that day. She is pretty determined about that. I don’t know how she got to be that way. When she feels like someone is making her do something, she revolts. It has to be her idea for her to do something. She has this personality that I admire and wonder at, all at the same time. When did she grow up so much? She has the compassion of a 20 year old. She can’t see anyone cry or be sick. If I am sick she tries to come and appease me hoping that I will get better. She gives hugs to Rehan whether or not he is in a mood for a hug. She laughs, and I mean laughs, like she means it. It is contagious. It is beautiful. Oh, if only I could capture this in my eyes and heart and mind.
This year ended with a new tradition that I decided to start in our family. To put up and decorate a Christmas tree. Like almost everyone around me, I am fascinated by the colors, the mood, the festivities, the positivity that this tree brings. I have to confess I don’t know enough about the religious aspect of this festival and this tree. In fact it is something that I don’t really feel the need to delve more into. Because I am happy maintaining a comfortable distance with religion. Not because I am not open to religion but because I feel pretty complete in my thoughts and action without religion. So I love this tradition. The only reason I am starting this now is because I have kids now. It is not that Samaira and Rehan care at this age about a Christmas tree. But I don’t know what it is about having them around that makes me want to start these traditions. I just want to. So we did. It is really pretty :).
And there are some things that I think about all the time. No matter what time of the year it is. Blame my excessive thinking for it.
Like, for some strange reason, one of the things I did a lot in this year was introspect on the last two decades of my life. Having spent a few years in my 30s gives me a confidence to introspect on my younger days. I spent my teens trying to get attention of people around me. I did a lot of things that if I had a time machine, I would do differently. Most importantly, if I were to go back in time now I want to remind myself of being a nicer person because that is what really matters. I spent my 20s making expectations the big monster I had to fight. All my relationships and friendships and associations were seen through a lens of expectations. Don’t ask me why. The second half of my 20s did bring in some stability in me. Over the last 10 years, I have become a more open person though. And I clearly realize it now that I am in my early 30s. I don’t think I was always this open and accepting to differences around me. I became that way because I learnt this from people around me. I saw people around me not judge when they could, and accept when they didn’t have to. These people were mostly my younger classmates during the Business program I pursued a few years back. It is quite amazing that I finally learnt the importance of accepting when I was finally in my 30s but from these people who were 20 something. I don’t know how these people got their wisdom, especially when I took my own time to learn. I most definitely learn from experience. So I thank these people who taught me to accept differences. As long as something or someone is not affecting my people, I am fairly open and accepting to people’s differences and decisions. I am predicting that I will spend my 40s learning the art of forgetting. I don’t forget. Ever. Literally. It is quite a baggage to carry. So I would really like to get to the point where I can forgive and forget. I realize it is important. I just don’t want to work on it. Not just yet. And all this talk of how old I am just reminded me that next year, I will be just 1 year away from being 35, which in turn is just 5 years away from being 40. Oh dear God!!!! Holy moly pista kaboli (yes, it means nothing and I just made it up)!! I have never imagined myself as a 40 year old. And it is not that far, in a way. Anyway, I will cross that bridge in 2020.
Another thing that happened in 2013 is that I purchased a lot of clothes for my babies. I have some long running obsession with jammies. I don’t know why that is. But any time I go out to shop – I could look at several different kind of outfits but the thing that I am always compelled to buy for myself every single time I go out to shop are jammies. Given my fixation with jammies, it is no surprise that the maximum type of outfits I purchased for Samaira this year were jammies. Who would have thought? Not even me. But just as I was rearranging our kids’ closet, I realized she has one pair of pajamas for every day of the week, and then some. Quite excessive if you ask me. It didn’t happen overnight. Every time I have to get something for Samaira, I end up getting a pair of jammies in addition. Rehan doesn’t have much of a difference between his sleepwear and awake-wear at this point. So one less thing to think about, for now. But that’s something I am not very proud of. This excess actually repulsed me for a tiny moment. I have had other similar moments in past. Like when I was pregnant with Samaira and was setting up my baby registry – the number of choices we had for every single thing, and I mean every single thing, actually repulsed me beyond imagination. I was determined in my head to buy the least amount of stuff. The stuff that I absolutely couldn’t do without. In that consumerism-rage, I actually ended up not buying some of the stuff I may have potentially used. Anyway. I had a similar sentiment when Samaira was really small. I was determined to not buy excessive amount of toys for her. Whatever I may have thought back then clearly did not hold and you will know why I am saying this when you look at the number of toys we have in our home. With that, I just realized that I spoke of "after Christmas shopping" and "repulsion with excess" in the same post. Oh well.
At least a few times a day, Siddharth and I look at each other, and say out loud – how lucky are we to have these kids ?! How did we come up with this awesome formula, twice! Rehan is the happiest baby. He smiles with his eyes. Kind of like Samaira. He still wakes up crying several times in the night, but when he finally wakes up in the morning, he is comfortably lying on the pillow. Either playing, or looking at me in the anticipation that I will wake up and look back at him. I love that site and it gets my day going. It hurts me when he cries. For now it is in my power, more often than not, to stop him from crying. I sometimes fear for the times that it won’t be in my power to stop him from crying. But that’s a discussion for another day. Rehan is pretty independent. As independent as a 6 month old can be anyway. He can spend an easy hour or so just entertaining himself by chewing on something or rolling around the room or hitting the edges and then rolling back into the center. Without complaining. Kind of makes up for his waking up at night. Not quite, actually. But it is pretty fun to watch him be that way. I haven’t really had the opportunity to scold Rehan yet. But I hate to scold Samaira. I don’t like the look on her face when I scold her. She looks at me like she is asking for help and I am scolding her. I come back to my dilemma of disciplining and how to do it, but I know that dilemma is not going away any time soon. Most importantly, Samaira and Rehan give meaning to our days and hours in new ways. And we value it. We feel fortunate for it. We realize how accepting our kids are toward us – no matter what our words, actions, shape, size, expressions, emotions are. They are them and they like it that way. They know we are us and they like us that way. I wish we could all be kids again. A part of me wishes that the innocence of this age could be retained forever. And there is one more thing I found that Samaira and I have in common, we both swear by Dr. Seuss quotes. One that I can’t get out my head is “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
So many memories. So much joy. Thank you 2013.