Tuesday, May 27, 2014

We, the parents

Our mind is a very funny organ. It plays tricks on us and molds and bends until the rest of our organs make peace with what is going on. Sometimes we convince ourselves of one thing and the next day of the exact opposite thing, with perfectly legitimate reasoning for either theory. On top of these typical mind games, parents have a mind of their own. Parents are fighters. People may or may not be born fighters, but as parents we all turn into fighters. We fight for our kids. We fight for us. We fight. It is something that our mind does at a very subconscious level. So much so that we do it with a rather natural flare and deem it to be the most natural and obvious behavior of our lives.

Normally, I am a realist. I see things as is. A little too much that way. I make conscious effort to not be in denial, mostly to prevent myself the heartbreak of coming back to reality by an external factor. I’d rather be brought to reality by my own self than something unexpected. So it was an atypical situation in our family when Siddharth was saying something, and I was in denial. For the last several months, Siddharth kept saying that Samaira’s apnea is getting worse. My instant and final reaction to his concern was absolute denial. I always dismissed him by saying that it isn’t apnea, it is congestion. That she is fine. I believed it too. Because I had convinced my mind and the rest of me that she didn’t have any issues. We finally did take her to a doctor and got her sleep study done. I was silently but surely and extremely nervous the day her results were going to arrive. I feared that the doctors would confirm her apnea and will recommend a surgery, which I absolutely did not want for Samaira. So I broke down as soon as the doctor confirmed my fear. In the doctor’s clinic. On our way out. In the parking lot. At work. Then back at home. I broke down multiple times and on multiple occasions. I hated that diagnosis. And over the next few days I did make peace with it and was ready for the surgery. I convinced myself that it will make life better for Sammy. That it is in her best interest. So it is the best thing to do. Then, Sammy spiked a fever two days before the surgery and that would have postponed her surgery. I broke down again thinking that her surgery won’t happen. Underneath all this, I couldn’t believe myself. It was almost unreal how I had gone from fearing her surgery to fearing her no-surgery within a week. My mind had totally convinced me of one way and then the other way. So darn crafty my mind is. Anyway, Sammy did recover from her illness and went through the surgery and was discharged the next day. The bottom line is, that Samaira did phenomenal. She was a trooper. She is acting like nothing happened and life is usual. We want to do what’s best for our kids. While we live in a non-ideal world, our definition of what is best for our kids also keeps changing.

Here is the thing I have realized over the past two or so years. We, as parents, do whatever it is that we have to do to make sure our babies are fine. So when parents fight for their kids’ well-being or survival, it is the most natural and pretty much the only thing parents can do. On somewhat of a side note, I do find it a little odd when people complement parents on being awesome & strong because they fight for their kid. I am normally the one to give benefit of doubt to people. I care more about the intent than about the impact. Normally. Not always. There are exceptions. But the point is that all parents are awesome & strong. Because we all go through the journey of fighting for our kids in our own little and big ways. It could mean fighting so the kids can keep up in school, or fighting with a bully at the park, or fighting with a stranger for an unjust comment, or fighting with the school system, or fighting with allergies, or fighting your child’s sadness, or fighting with an accident that injured your kid in big or small way, or fighting with a fever and cold and cough, or fighting with brain cancer, or fighting with so many other things that we have no control over. Really fighting with anything. We, the parents, fight all the time. We fight with various different things and people. We all fight for our kids. So we are all awesome, strong parents. Simple.

Here is another thing people fight for when they have a tiny tot absolutely and fully depending on them. Themselves. People fight for themselves. Or at least they should. If somebody asked me my biggest fear before I had Samaira, it was hands down losing people I love. What changed after I had my first baby? My biggest fear became losing people I love, including myself. I am somehow more aware of myself, my well-being, after being a mom. I want to lead a longer healthier life and lifestyle so I can be there to take care of my kids. I can’t imagine not being there for my babies when they need me. I fear losing myself.

So, when Heather Von St. James reached out to me regarding her story, I couldn’t help but realize the importance of our health. Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma shortly after giving birth to her first baby. Heather was given 15 months to live. She is the living proof that miracles happen. It has been a few years and she has lived to tell the tale. I knew nothing about mesothelioma so I started reading up her blog: http://www.mesothelioma.com/. Mesothelioma is caused due to asbestos exposure and I learnt how ridiculously and absolutely pervasive its usage it. It is something that a lot of us get exposed to every single day. My journey to learn more about this condition, its causes, and its consequences has just begun. But the mom gene in me is going to strive to be well. I know we don’t control a lot of it. But there has to be something that we can control, right? We don’t control the consequences. But we control our actions. It is never too late to learn. It is never too late to raise awareness.

It is a new gene, we, the parents acquire. To fight. So let us.

These are some people I fight for


Monday, May 12, 2014

My Baby, My Soul, My Whole

In the sounds of the whisper that you make at night
In the smile on your face that feels so right
In the gait of your crawl or your hurried walk
In the babbles of your sounds or just the way you talk
In the touch of your hand when you pretend to put cream
In the joy of your feet when you run to a stream
In the free spirit you bring to every moment
In the flare you bring to be a showman
In the innocence of your fights
In the simplicity of your delight
In the fire that lives in your voice
In the effortlessness of how you make a choice
In the honesty you bring to any relation
In the wonderment you show in any creation
In the willingness you show to forgive and move on
In the world you create where bygones are bygones

It is there that I want to live
It that what I want to learn
It is who I want to become

You, my sweet angel, my baby
You teach me every day with everything you do
You have changed my world, my view

You have given me a brand new soul
You have, in fact, made me whole.

Your Mom

Monday, May 5, 2014

Humble and Happy

Some weeks are testier than others. They demand more time. They demand more attention. They demand more commitment. They demand more sacrifice. They demand more compromise. They demand more trust. They demand more faith. If you can keep up though, there is a lingering feeling of joy and your heart does a little bit of a victory dance. But that is not all. I have realized that while the end of a testing period demands a victory dance, it is the tiny little moments of joy during this time that can be more satisfying than the end itself.

This past week was kind of sort of tricky for us. Siddharth was traveling for work. Rehan started to fall sick the day Siddhu left for work. And Sammy was in a full on happy mood…very typical. Most of my last week included not going to work, an unsuccessful attempt at keeping Rehan and Sammy away from each to minimize the exchange of germs, and spending a lot of time cuddling and hugging Rehan!

Here is what Rehan likes to do when he is not feeling well. He obviously likes to lay in bed. But here is the twist. He likes to giggle in spite of his sickness. He likes to roll on my tummy. He likes to fall back on his head. Although he very carefully plans his fall on to a pillow. He likes to communicate in his own “uhh…uhhh…..uhhhh” language. He likes to get up on his knees and throw himself on me. Of course it is up to me to dodge him so he doesn’t hurt himself. This was his journey to wellness. Go figure. So this is what I was doing for the two days that I didn’t go to work this past week. I am surely not complaining.

Now, as per our house rule book, it was Sammy’s turn to fall sick. What can I say? This is how we roll. I have to declare that Sammy is the most adorable when she is a little under the weather. She tends to give me hugs like I need those more than she does. She tends to pat my back like I need healing.  The fact is, I do need her hugs and healing touch more than she needs mine. So we cancelled any and all of our pre-made and un-made weekend plans and spent the entire time cuddling and relaxing and doing nothing.

Sammy did get sudden bursts of energy for a few hours every time Advil came to her rescue. Those were the pockets of the weekend that we spent playing. Any time I turned on my laptop this weekend, Sammy instructed me to ‘close it.´ So we stayed away from devices as much as possible.

Rehan spent most of his weekend destroying every single wire in the house by chewing on it. Alternately, he spent some time taking out all the toys from the shelves and throwing those in some deeply hidden and unknown places in our home. Sammy spent a part of her advil-energized time swaying to rhymes. Some of her time was also spent in her going round and round in circles to ring-a-ring o’ roses. Every so often she would come to me and say ‘hold hand…ring roses…come.’ So I joined her. Once. Twice. Thrice. After about 7 or 8 times of going in circles and falling on the ground and laughing out loud, I have to admit I started getting tired. So then it was Siddharth’s turn to go round and round.

We also spent some time this weekend staring out the window to admire the rain and the clouds and the uszh. Samaira looks out of the window and starts saying ‘and chair…..and trees…..and swing….and clouds….and house…” Yes, she starts her sentences with and. Rehan looks out of the window and in the process smashes his face into it and then he pretends like it doesn’t hurt because it was his idea after all. My favorite thing to do is to look outside the window and admire Mother Nature and then look inside the window to admire the pure sense on wonderment in my kiddos’ eyes. All four of us sat at the edge of the window staring outside, doing our favorite things. 

At some point during the weekend, Siddharth showed me this video that was SO much fun to watch. The title of the video is “This Man Proves You’re Never Too Old To Learn New Moves.” We were completely mesmerized and in awe of this man and his moves. Almost halfway into the video I wondered. I wondered that this man isn’t that old. I wondered that he is not a non-dancer to begin with. In fact he is a phenomenal dancer. I wondered that the lady to the right of the screen is also a phenomenal dancer. Oh, what a joy it is to watch these people dance. While Siddharth and I were busy watching this video – Samaira was staring at us wondering why we are so happy and smiley. Without fully understanding why, she started to smile and laugh with us. Every time she smiled though, she brought her face in front of mine so I could also see that she was smiling. And then she brought her face in front of Siddharth’s so he could see her smile and laugh. My funny girl.

What a fun week. What a great weekend.

The delight of cuddles, and cozies, and looking out of the window, and staring at the cloudy skies, and going in pointless circles, and laughing looking at each other, and lazing around, and doing pretty much nothing…..almost made up for the sick kids. Sickness is never fun. It makes me value health. It makes me value things I otherwise take for granted. It is humbling. But it is possible to steal micro-moments of happiness.

Be sure to do that.

Just before cold & cough took over