BabyZ, childhood, happiness, life

A letter to my boy from his working mother

Dear Z,

I really hope that when you are reading this you’re a healthy, happy young man. Amma is going to try to explain something to you today but it might take a while because I need to understand it better myself first. Before we begin, let me tell you that ‘writing’ about things can sometimes help you figure out what’s going on in your mind. It’s a way to clean up the mess that’s in there and by the end of it, more than often, you feel better than how you started. I hope you also appreciate writing one day and learn to use it for your benefit.

Your mommy has always been an ambitious person. She has always dreamt big and took challenges to be somewhere in life. In the words of a famous author, ‘I’m not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really, really hard.’ I hope that by the time you’re old enough to read this, I have succeeded to become a ‘somebody’ in this very competitive world. My point being Z, I’ve always gone the extra mile to do well in my career. I never took the easy way out or comforted myself with an excuse to take a backseat – even if that meant painfully long drives when I was pregnant with you – I worked. I was asked to go to your nana nani’s house for your delivery which is the only reason that I quit work – I was 7 months pregnant then. In my mind I had it all planned out – a 6-month maternity leave and then back on the field. But things hardly ever go the way you plan them.

11th of July, 2015 my life changed forever. I had the most beautiful blessing of God that a person could ask for. I had you. The days flew by in a flash. I was completely indulged in raising you in the best possible way that I could. From being just a corporate lawyer, I had suddenly become your full time consultant, caretaker, chef, nurse, friend, teacher, everything – I was your everything. And with every passing day you made me realize what an important job I was doing. You appreciated me with your cozy hugs and a smile so warm that it would take away my worries and melt my heart.

But I will be honest with you Z, there were days when I just wanted to get out of the house and do something – be something. That bug which was deeply inculcated inside of me kept itching for some kind of self-achievement. I have always loved you more than life itself but there were days when I wanted to be more than just a mother. I wish I knew better.

You have always been an above average baby Z. You were an early crawler, an early walker, talker and what not – you just didn’t want to slow down! And I’ve completely enjoyed watching you achieve your milestones with so much confidence and grace at such a tender age. Before you turned 2 you knew your numbers from 1-10, you could point out and name 5 continents, you knew almost every ‘first word’ from your surroundings (be it food items, vehicles, toys, animals (you would call a porcupine – ponka ponka ponka!)). You knew who Allah is… you would sit with me when I recited the Quraan and point your bubbly little fingers at the words and say ‘Alif, baa, jeeem, haaa’. I can just go on for days boasting about how smart my baby has always been.

It’s a common belief that children generally are very adaptive to changes. Mold them whichever way you want and the little ones just follow. You were always very cooperative with your mama Z. Ever since you were just a couple of months old, you have been very patient with me – especially when we were passing through difficult times as a family. You have always been my pivot – the center of my balance and I cannot tell you how thankful and proud I am of you for being my strength.

It’s been a little over a month since I resumed my job. After many failed attempts to secure a job I was finally hired by a company which has one of the most intimidating and challenging auras that I have ever faced. It’s a daily struggle so far. More so, because I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that I have gone from having a multi-tasked 24/7 routine with you to just being a lawyer and that to for someone else.

1st of April 2017, your baba and I dropped you to the daycare for the first time. I was composed for the first hour – thanks to you because you were such a confident and happy baby – but then I just broke down. I sat in our car outside your daycare and I cried. Leaving you there was one of the toughest decisions of my life. To know that you will be fed by someone else and taken care of by someone else and rocked to sleep by someone else. It just ripped my heart. Despite of being an emotionally strong person, parting away from you even for a few hours was one the weakest moments for me. I had to repeatedly console myself that it was ok, that you were ok and happy with your new friends and that sooner or later, you needed this exposure to grow as a strong individual.

During your first week at the daycare, there were noticeable changes in your behavior that worried me all night. You were suddenly becoming cranky and throwing tantrums at every little thing. Your appetite had gone down and it seemed like you were no longer as happy as you used to be with me. I just didn’t understand why. I was making sure that every single hour that I got with you, we were making the most out of it. I would finish all the house chores before it was time for me to pick you from the daycare just so I could spend all my time with you. But something was wrong. I kept having anxiety attacks – I kept getting paranoid that all of this was going to make me fall down on my face.

I asked the daycare in charge what was the matter and she wisely pointed out that the problem was not with you, it was with me. You see Z, a mother and child share a very unique bond. From the time when a baby is in the womb and then perhaps forever, a mother and child are always connected. They reflect in each other’s being. My panic reflected in your behavior. When a mother panics, the child inevitably gets scared because then they don’t understand what’s happening to them and why mommy is going so crazy! The cause of my panic was my guilt. My constant guilt. I was just living with the fact that I was doing something wrong. That instead of being with my baby and playing with him at home and looking after him, I was going out and working. And the feeling multiplied itself by infinity on days when you were even slightly ill. I can’t tell you how much it killed me inside to wake you up in the morning and drop you at the daycare to be able to go to work. In the past one month I have contemplated resigning at least 10 times.

But then I ran into other working mothers. Mothers of more than just one baby, mothers of babies who were just a few weeks old, mothers of children with special needs, single mothers and the list goes on. The world is made up of so many stories Z, so many stories which you and I are not even aware of. Every household has its set of challenges. Every child, every woman, every man wakes up with a dream and then the many hurdles that he or she needs to make way through. I gained support from such many examples around me and more so ever, I had the support of your amazing father, your Aaji and your nana & nani who always stood by me and calmed me down on my crazy days. They were the ones who trusted me and told me that I was capable of fulfilling both roles. That I could be a kick-ass lawyer and an even better mother, both at the same time.

There is another aspect to our situation – the importance of ‘separation’. Like I said above Z, you and I are already connected in a very magical way. It’s plain nature and nothing can ever change it. You have always been and will always be a part of me – literally. And that’s amazing – watching you is like watching a piece of my heart run around and sing adorable nursery rhymes. But you see, despite of being attached naturally, our attachment needs nurturing. That is where separation comes into play. I kind of understood this phenomenon when I moved away from your nana nani after marriage. But the importance of this sensation sunk in when I was separated from you – even for just a couple of hours.

Separation is so important in relationships because due to that separation you realize that you will be reunited. You need to know that the person comes back. That feeling you get when you walk back into the house or for me when I would park the car outside your daycare – my eagerness to see you and to be able to hug you and kiss you after hours, which seem like years, cannot be contained. The excitement just overflows. And I long to hear you scream in your adorable squeaky voice every time I come to pick you at the day care, ‘Mama aaaagaaiiiiii!!’ – those are the most eager few minutes I spend before I can actually hold you and hug you again. This is the importance of separation – it enables you to eagerly look forward to meeting the one you love so much.

I know my job has a new presence in your life. It’s a huge unknown block in our fun-filled bubble of mommy and Z. But I need you to understand that right now it’s a big confusing thing for your mama as well. Even I’m trying very hard to figure it all out and have my life back in control. My job has not only changed your life, it has impacted my own. And most importantly Z, I need you to know that I am working not because I would ever…. EVER choose work over you – I cannot choose ANYTHING over you – but simply because work is also important.

Work is what will allow your mom to support our family. Work is what will allow us to do the things that we want to do as a family. Work is what will encourage mommy to grow as an individual – to be stronger and more confident in her thoughts and decisions. Work is what will urge mommy to learn and be at par with the world. Work is what will perhaps make mommy the kind of woman that she wants you to see and admire. Amongst everything that you have so beautifully learnt my little Z, amma wants you to learn and know and respect women for their individuality, for their opinions and for their emotions – and I pray that by the time you read this, you can proudly say that your mother is an example of women who are strong and respected for who they have struggled to become.

Love & hugs & a million kisses,

Amma

20170602_103326.jpg
my happy place ❤
dreams, happiness, hope, life

Perfect words

Today I came across some wonderful pieces of writing – the first one is a short article written by Mary Schmich. She described it as her chance to be dogmatic about her take on life. I think it’s brilliant!

And the second one is a poem from The Desiderata of Happiness which is a compilation of some beautiful poems by Max Ehrmann. This one here is called ‘A Prayer’.
Enjoy!

Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young – Mary Schmich

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Sing.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Floss.

Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

A Prayer – The Desiderata of Happiness by Max Ehrmann

Let me do my work each day;
and if the darkened hours
of despair overcome me, may I
not forget the strength
that comforted me in the
desolation of other times.

May I still remember the bright
hours that found me walking
over the silent hills of my
childhood, or dreaming on the
margin of a quiet river,
when a light glowed within me,
and I promised my early God
to have courage amid the
tempests of the changing years.

Spare me from bitterness
and from the sharp passions of
unguarded moments. May
I not forget that poverty and
riches are of the spirit.
Though the world knows me not,
may my thoughts and actions
be such as shall keep me friendly
with myself.

Lift up my eyes
from the earth, and let me not
forget the uses of the stars.
Forbid that I should judge others
lest I condemn myself.
Let me not follow the clamor of
the world, but walk calmly
in my path.

Give me a few friends
who will love me for what
I am; and keep ever burning
before my vagrant steps
the kindly light of hope.

And though age and infirmity
overtake me, and I come not within
sight of the castle of my dreams,
teach me still to be thankful
for life, and for time’s olden
memories that are good and
sweet; and may the evening’s
twilight find me gentle still.

belief, dreams, happiness, life

Stroke of Serendipity

Image

I once read somewhere that it makes situations a lot easier when you lay things down in a certain perspective – of course it helps only when the perspective is a positive one – but I think that sometimes the only perspective that you’ve got is the fact that you’re there. Breathing. Really there. I think it’s okay to feel things – both good and bad. You probably wouldn’t feel happy about the smallest good thing that happens to you unless you’ve actually thought over the pain a bad thing has caused.

Day before yesterday was a slow day for me. I woke up with a whimper (definitely because it was the start of the week & oh how I hate Monday/Tuesday mornings!) and the rest of the day was just as unexciting as it could be. When I came back home from work, I lazed around for a bit, had dinner, lazed around just a little bit more and then called it a day. After quite some time I slept for quite some time that night! And it felt amazing! I had no dreams to interrupt my sleep and eventually it all summed up to the sort of smile I had on my face the next morning. I felt warm within – CONTENTHAPPY. That morning was simply beautiful.

So at the moment, I’ve had a day where I wanted to pull my hair out and break everything around me followed by a gorgeous morning whereby life seemed worth living for. And what happened in the middle of these two feelings? I slept? That isn’t reason enough I tell you. My answer would be ‘perspective’. It all comes down to a certain point and that point probably lies in how we choose to interpret the realities of life.

In my previous posts I have spoken about finding a cause – a reason. We all like to be able to sum things up in a single, uncomplicated reason. We believe it neatens our life’s uncertainties. I recently read a little story and it made me smile –

In the olden days, ancient Egyptians were taken aback by great surprise when they witnessed the Sun disappear every evening. They, quite naturally, wondered where it was headed EVERYDAY with such punctuality and poise. They got their heads together in order to ‘solve’ the mystery. After much ado, they concluded that the Sun was swallowed by a sky goddess called ‘Nuit’ who then gave birth to it every morning in the East. There! That’s explained – mystery solved! I reckon they all lived happily ever after that finding.

Point being dear readers, any explanation is better than no explanation atall. We all agree to that – we all like that. But that’s not the case every time. This search for a reason can brutally murder the belief in perception which is so very necessary for survival. Facts and reasons derived through human logic can be amended at any point in time. It’s the perception that we own. We can change it to our will or stick to it for the rest of our lives irrespective of where the facts go. We all know people who show off fancy beliefs when they say ‘Oh I just keep myself happy no matter what happens! I’m just so used to of seeing only the good in everything that I’m hardly ever upset!’. Well.. hate them as much as you want to, but honestly, they’re the ones doing it right.

I was thinking of writing a blog post last night about something inspirational, something positive. See, I could tell you some story of where I’ve been super brave and have shown great self composure and calm and what not! I could tell you all of that and more despite of having had some waves that came crashing into my life so strongly that I found it inevitable to restore my equilibrium and tranquility for a while. Yes, things happen, we make our share of mistakes (life didn’t come with a set of instructions), we learn, we move on etc etc etc. But one thing that decides how and where we end up is our perspective towards everything. And maybe that is the point. Maybe we need to remind ourselves that it takes both rain and sunshine to form a rainbow.

Image

I could tell you so many things. So many things from whatever perspective I choose. But this is what I pictured this morning and this is what I choose to see –

Everyone’s stories are just bits and pieces of a bigger picture, a road map… each story is like a tiny luminescent star on the screen of a pitch black sky – some stars twinkle and some don’t but together they make the sky look mesmerizing. I see myself standing before a blue-green ocean with a compass in my hand and the wind blowing my hair. I am an incomparable flower of my kind and my soul is my butterfly with its wing outstretched waiting to take off as soon as the compass points me towards eternal bliss… Life is indeed too short to dwell upon anything else but bright hopes for a better tomorrow.

‘Live your truth. Express your love. Share your enthusiasm. Take action towards your dreams. Walk your talk. Dance and sing to your music. Embrace your blessings. Make today worth remembering.’ Steve Maraboli

belief, happiness, life

fill up my senses

Today our city had its first rain of the monsoon season.. I had called in sick at work hence enjoyed my time at home with family. For as long as I remember I was never a huge fan of ‘rain’.. not that I didn’t like it but I never really liked it either.. if it was raining, well it was raining. But this year I was actually waiting for it to start raining; I wanted it to rain. And I realized how badly I was wanting this when it started raining cats and dogs today. I loved it. Absolutely loved it. Right from the cloudy weather to the winds to the rain hitting the ground and the walk I took down the lane with the smell of wet grass and all*heart heart* I even had music playing in the back of my head making it all look nicer. Conclusively, today was great!

Today, for me, also marks an entire year to another day which was good when it was there. I was happy that day too and I thought that that new beginning would bring with it waves of new happiness. None of any of that happened. Last year the first monsoon rain was on the 6th of September and I didn’t like it too much back then – probably because I was too busy being happy about other things which I didn’t know weren’t going to last. There was a picture which I edited from that day and I put a caption on it that said ‘In the end reality is better than dreams..’. Back then I thought the reality that I was living was beautiful – it wasn’t. I know I am lucky, I know God’s listening to me and hence i pray that may that picture – that caption and all those memories .. I pray that this year’s rain washes it all away.

May the sun bring you new energy by day
May the moon softly restore you by night
May the rain wash away your worries
May the breeze blow new strength into your being
May you walk gently through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life

My initial post for today ended there – but I decided to add this little bit to it.. I wrote a post a few days ago which was an instant ‘venting out’ thing (I’ve deleted it now..).. a friend said that everything in that post was contrary to the me he knows and I agreed. I started this blog because I knew I could write.. or at least express myself in words.. It’s because of this blog that I realized that writing was my way of escape. It makes me feel better every time I empty myself in words. I absolutely love it. Then, eventually my friends started following my blog.. Some posted comments.. Some called me to talk about what I had posted.. and I can’t deny that knowing that people like and appreciate your work feels amazing! I learnt with time that I have some special people who are reading my blog regularly even though I have never met them in person nor have I ever spoken to them. I share a very unique relationship with them – because we know each other only through these blog posts. I understand that my friends and the other readers of this blog wish me well.. They want to see me happy.. They know me as a strong person and that I tell you I am.. and I know that one of my latest blog posts was very disappointing for them. I fell short of your expectations for which I owe you all an apology. But honestly, sometimes venting out is irrational and not thought of, which is probably why it’s also pretty much nonsense. So consider that blog post as absolute nonsense please! 🙂

I wanted to add this paragraph for two reasons; one because I need you all to know that I appreciate your concern sooo much and I feel blessed to be surrounded by so many well-wishers.. and two, because I also need you to know that some experiences of life that we live through we forget eventually but some experiences carve into us – they remain because they have helped us grow as a person. They teach us more about ourselves and every time we go back to thinking about what happened, those experiences only remind us of how strong and how blessed we are.

Anyhow, coming back to my post for today – I assure you all that the weather in my city is great, it is expected to rain for a few more days and I am looking forward to it, I still hate having to wake up at 6 for work and so far my friends, my days are busy, filled with some good madness and when I prepare to sleep I have a smile on my face because I know tomorrow will definitely be an absolutely wonderful day! 🙂 I love you all..