Sathya, Wini, Shraddha and Amrit (my brother and family) are here with us, and I am thankful from the bottom of my heart for their presence. Although we live in the same country, we are several states apart. So it’s time and resource intensive to meet up. I am so glad and thankful that they were able to visit us this year. We are soaking in each other’s company, generally chilling at home, and doing random things. I may not be able to keep up with post a day for rest of Nov. But the plan is to resume the gratitude journal once we are back to our regular routine.
It’s end of another thanksgiving day.
This practice of writing gratitude journal has opened my eyes to the fact so many things will have to come together at a moment to create that perfect moment. If you pay attention to the dynamics to the making of one moment, it’s quite marvellous. This thanksgiving day, I am grateful for all the moment that led me to where I am and who I am today. I am thankful for all the people that have touched my life and all the experiences that have shaped my life so I can be me and I can be here.
Today, I am reflecting, celebrating and thankful for a very special friendship.
She is like a breath of fresh air, cool and crisp, energizing you with her presence. She has seen me through my ups and downs, thick and thin. She is my cheerleader, playing the devil’s advocate, reminding me who I am. We look at the same picture from different perspectives, making our understanding more holistic. We share a friendship that is intuitive, unconditional, and non-judgmental.
Happy b’day V. This post comes a day late but is one that I wanted to enter in my gratitude journal. My deep deep gratitude for your friendship. I count you as one of my life’s richest blessings. I am thankful that our paths crossed. I am thankful for the years and years of giggling, dreaming, bantering, and pouring our souls out. May you be blessed with all the happiness your heart can hold!
Last year this day we were in India, more specifically in Hyderabad. It was Hari’s date of birth and star birthday. Since my mother-in-law (referred to as amma going forward in this post) and Hari shared the same nakshatranam, they had a joint birthday celebration. My sister-in-law had purchased a beautiful and humongous birthday cake in the shape of cricket bat to make Hari’s special day extra special. Amma was excited about turning 70. She wore an onion color sari with brown border. She was happy that we were there with her on her milestone birthday.
Some random amma related memories from that stay. Amma making cheppankizhangu roast for lunch. We ordered breakfast from a local hotel one morning and chomped away the varieties of dosais. Amma excited to attend her nephew’s wedding, spending time wih her siblings and catching up with her relatives. She was happy that it coincided with her b’day, she distributed some mementos to her kith and kin. She asked me to take pictures of her.
I am grateful that all the stars aligned and we made that trip last year. It was her last birthday and our last time seeing her healthy and happy. I am thankful for the happy memories that we have from that trip. I am thankful that google kept throwing back pictures from the tip. I am very thankful that she had a relatively peaceful end with less suffering. Much gratitude amma for all the love, role modeling, and acceptance of everyone for who he or she is.
Our first born will be turning 12 in another 45 minutes. Where did the years go? All I did was blink and he grew from a newborn to a pre-teen. Hari has been grinning ear to ear all day today. “Amma can you believe it, this will be my last year of being a pre-teen?” I absolutely cannot believe it child. I simply cannot. I mean I know it. I have seen you grow inch by inch. Yet when I see you making small talks with the hairdresser at salon or chatting with our neighbors, it takes my breath away. That’s when it hits me you are growing fast and furious. They say the pre-teen and teenage years are challenging years, a time when a child is at the cusp of childhood and adulthood, trying to figure out his place in the world. When academic and peer pressure multiply. This year has just been the beginning of that phase and you have had a good start. I worried that you would want less of me in this phase. But I am pleasantly surprised by how you have been reaching out to me for hugs and love when I least expect it. I love how you and I are able to have candid conversations, sometimes speaking volumes with our eye rolls, naughty smiles, and heavy sighs! You are kind, flexible and an easy going child. Always eager to roll up your sleeves and face a challenge thrown at you. You are everything a parent would want in a first born.
Today, I am thankful for the blessing and privilige of raising Hari. It has been the richest 12 years of our lives. Happy happy birthday dearest Hari. Be mindful, listen to your inner voice, focus your energy on the efforts, be kind to yourself and to others, and be happy. We love with all our hearts and more.
Today I am thankful that most of our needs are met locally and that our town is self contained. From the grocery store to kids’ pediatrician., my dentist to mechanic, our chauffeuring is within the town. What a big relief it is to spend so little time on the road..! But even this limited driving tires us when we have to switch gears from school activities to extra activities. So very glad that it is not often that we have to step out of our town boundaries.
I have taken to my dad’s side of the family when it comes to my hair color and density. My hair started greying in my early 30’s, and at a fast and furious rate in my mid 30s. The sight of those silver strands used to make me really sad. It left me feeling that my youth was slipping away. I was also annoyed that for all my preaching about inner beauty, inner calm and inner strength, the greying of my hair rattled me so much. Isn’t it the normal part of aging, why so much resistance?
On a whim, I started treating my hair with henna a couple of years back. For the first few times, I went to the parlor with resentment and annoyance, wishing that I just accepted my greying hair and not fight it as much. But gradually, over time, I started enjoying the experience. I mean all I needed to do was sit. Just sit for full 20 mins while someone else did the work for me. What was not to like about that? Not to mention the heady smell of henna and how it conditioned my hair.
While I am still not ready to give up my henna treatment, I can honestly say that the silver strands do not take as much of my mind space any more. I am thankful that henna is a stop gap solution that I can fall back on till I come to terms with my aging. I am also thankful to my dad and a couple of my friends for embracing their grey hair. That’s the state of mind I aspire to achieve with time. A calm acceptance of my aging hair.
For the past couple of years, I have been Working From Home (WFH) a lot. WFH is a double-edged sword, especially for a person like me, who slips and slides swiftly along the slippery slope of indiscipline. But thankfully, I am also a stickler for delivering on my commitments. So the traits balance each other out.
The kids have definitely benefited from my working from home. Hari hardly went to after school program in the last two years of elementary school. They have enjoyed the luxury of simply chilling at home on one-off holidays and vacations. My working from home dynamics have also helped mould their personalities and values. They know clearly that work is my priority during working hours. They know to keep quiet during my work calls, and keep themselves occupied without resorting to screen time.
I have truly lucked out when it comes to my job and my managers. If I haven’t climbed the corporate ladder, it’s for my own reasons. The company offers plenty of self development opportunities, and my managers over the years have allowed me to work without micromanaging me.
There are trade-offs to WFH. I miss being in an office environment. I miss being where the action is. I miss out on the culture aspect. But I am ok with missing all of that because I have gained more than what I have missed.
Change is the only constant, so who knows what’s in store. For now, I offer my thanks to the flexibility and work life balance that my company has offered all these years. Much appreciated!
When I was little, I have seen older siblings act beyond their age, parenting their little brother or sister. And I have cringed, squirmed, and wondered, “Why can’t they act their age? Shouldn’t they be playing instead of raising their little brother or sister?”
Decades later, I am seeing my own first born parenting my second born. Well, the term parenting is an exaggeration. Let’s just say, Hari is very protective of and affectionate to Ram. He cannot bear to see Ram heartbroken or being taken advantage of. The affection is a two-way street. Ram will put up a fight with us for Hari and will stick to Hari like a velcro should we reprimand him. They have their own insider jokes. They fight. They manipulate each other and drive each other nuts.
Ram has been whispering to me all evening today. “Amma I am going to make a b’day card for anna”, “Can you get a print out of baseball?”, “I want to make a pop up card for anna”
I am not sure what the future holds, but today it tugs my heartstrings when I see the ones that I love, love each other. I am immensely thankful for the privilege of seeing the two siblings bond.
I had a couple of drafts in my head last night but I was tired, bone tired. And before I knew it I was sleeping like a baby. I was a bit disappointed this morning when I realized that I had unintentionally missed a day of my gratitude journal but that disappointment was laced with gratitude. I love my sleep. I need my sleep. 8 hours of sleep, not a minute less. I am thankful for nights that I get my 8 hours of beauty sleep.