Experiences, Family, Gratitude, Us

Team work

Another thank you coming in the way of the renovation project.

One of the things that our house lacked prior to the renovation was closets and storage space. We didn’t have enough wardrobe space, so the clothes were spilling all over the bedroom. We didn’t have a closet where the kids could store their sports related stuff, as a result the living room doubled up as mud room. We couldn’t carve out a space for working, so the dining table conveniently became a catch all place for all of us to work.

This is not a bad situation to be in and one could argue that it builds character and presents an opportunity to embrace simple living. Except that in our household, it resulted in  frustration, fiery glances and endless finger pointing. After many failed attempts to declutter and simplify, it became clear that we had to rethink our ways. The renovation project presented a golden opportunity.

Da and I spent hours designing our closets, home office, and mudroom. Initially, I felt like an impostor using the word design. “Us and design?” is what I thought to myself. But turns out that we and only we are the experts at knowing our needs and wants. Once we zeroed in on that,  designing a space came naturally. Spending time with Da figuring out our needs, brainstorming ideas, browsing over pages of Pinterest images and Houzz articles, working around our constraints and ultimately committing the design to paper has definitely been one of my favorite parts of this initiative. It put the focus on the process rather than the end result.

I would not be surprised if we continue to go on with our careless ways even after the home improvement but I am immensely thankful for the hours spent working together with Da. It is one of the things that makes this house a home. Our home.

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Family, Gratitude, Hari Katha, Milestones, Wishes

The newly minted teenager

“Can you believe it amma, I am a teenager!” the child posed a rhetorical question as he chomped his cheese filled crispy dosai on his special morning. We exchanged a knowing glance, as if acknowledging the enormity of it all,  but mostly to check how many dosais were left on the plate. A little voice in my head whispered, “No and Yes”

No, I can’t believe you are a teenager!  I can’t believe it because, it just feels like yesterday that I held your tiny body in my arms for the very first time. I can’t because even when you are strong enough to lift me, you will always be small enough for me to coddle you. I can’t because all I said was skip, hop and jump, and here you are nearly as tall as me. I can’t because I fight my impulse to protect you before I can let you learn from your mistakes. I can’t because I think of you as my darling darling baby in my head and can’t hold myself from smothering you with my loud noisy kisses.

Yes, yes and yes, you are so a teenager! I can believe it because of the way your eyes twinkle and your lips smack as we talk about chocolate pancakes, cheesy ravioli, bean burritos and masala pooris. I can believe it because I have seen you grow inch by inch right under our noses. I can because we are shoe shopping in adult aisles for you. I can because no topic is taboo or off limits for us.  I can because when you make a mistake you are mature enough to come up to us and confess. I can because you take ownership and responsibility to get your tasks done. I can because we have thoughtful conversations around how we can support each other, be it fitness or staying organized.  I can because even when it’s hard to accept, you understand our values and who we are as a family.  I can because when I hug and kiss you, I hold you a second longer knowing that it’s only a question of time before your smooth buttery cheeks give way to tiny buds of facial hair.  I can because I can count on my fingers the number of years that are left before you spread your wings and fly from our cosy little nest.

Happiest of birthdays to the newly minted teenager in our home. You are such a fun, kind, wise, and witty dude. We love you from the depths of our hearts and are profoundly grateful for your presence in our lives. Be kind. Be brave. Work hard. Make a difference. Be YOU. XOXO. 

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Experiences, Family, Gratitude, Us

Travel Musings

I am writing this post in the South Carolina airport waiting area. There is a good one hour for boarding and seven long hours to reach home. In spite of the lingering headache, I feel relief.  A relief from knowing that my work for today went well and I can get back to my routine work tomorrow. I feel a wave of gratitude fill my heart.

Although I have not gone around the city, Charlestown seems to be a nice place. It’s brisk and sunny outside. People are consistently warm, polite and kind. My cab driver, who was on the elderly side, is one of the friendliest persons I have met. As he said good bye to me, he shared the rules he lives by – “Be thankful, be courteous, and be on time” I nodded with a smile, his good nature rubbing on to me.

I parade the airport up and down for Panthers t-shirt for Hari. He had asked for one, “It’s ok if you don’t get it, but look for one amma” I don’t like the price tag, I am not impressed with the quality, but I overlook and grab the black t-shirt. The memory of the incessant text message from him yesterday cheers me up. I confess, when I am the one receiving the text messages, I am less judgmental and have more tolerance for teens with cell phones. “I wish I have all the cool gifs that you have,” I texted him. “When you come home, I will show the app to you” he replied instantly. This is how role reversal creeps in, an advice here, a teaching moment there, and reassurances thrown in the mix.

What to buy for Ram? Can’t make myself get another set of color pencils. The Hudson store has very limited options and I don’t want to spend too much. I manage to find a travel Snake and Ladders board game. When I spoke to Ram this morning he seem to have had a rough night with the coughing. Poor little one. I think of all the giggles that the dad and son had over Pinky and the Brain, and the innocence of it all makes my spirits soar.

I buy an apple turnover Nutella pastry for Da from the gourmet bakery. “Ram eat your breakfast”, “Hari did you pack your snack?”, “Did you book the taxi Maha?” He managed to squeeze all these questions in one conversation to three different people during my call this morning. It’s a crazy week to single handedly hold down the fort. The painters and the flooring guys are at home to do what they need to do. We have limited access to essentials and over 2/3 of the house is off-limits. Being the uncomplicated guy that he is, he takes it in stride. He does what he can, is content with very little, gives his all to his family and has no qualms about saying no when he cannot.

Another day. Another adventure. Thankful that we thrived.

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Family, Gratitude, Little Moments

Weekend is here!

Piping hot kanji, a low key work day, lunch date with the family, hot spicy Jalapeno poppers, playing pool with Ram and Hari, movie night with Hari, some good laughs at the movie, nice new warm fleece mitten, canceled extra-activities for tomorrow, a new episode of Grey’s Anatomy and Good Doctor… these are the things that made me happy. These are the things that I am thankful for today. 

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Experiences, Family, Gratitude, Introspection, Uncategorized

Fullness of life

Today was a day filled with activities and commitments. Thank God for fullness of life, it leaves you with less bandwidth to brood and ruminate over things that could have been.

A big thank you to Da for holding down the fort as I went skipping and hoping from one activity to the other.

The day started with an extra hour, thanks to daylight savings roll back. I did the single thing that would enhance the quality of my day manifold – an extra hour of beauty sleep!

Thank you to Da, Hari and Ram for believing in me and for being my cheering squad. I was part of a panel discussion this afternoon at the local library. I was a bit anxious as this was my first time and I was not quite sure what to expect. The boys rooted for me and cast their vote of confidence in me. Da brainstormed ideas with me and nudged me (much needed for yours truly) to dress appropriately for the occasion. Exactly the kind of moral support and reality check I needed. So grateful for this bunch!

The best part of indulging in different pursuits is the people that I get to meet and know. Grateful that my path crosses with passionate, smart and nice folks. My life is richer just by virtue of knowing them.

Have a good week. What are you grateful for today?

 

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Experiences, Experiments, Family, Little Moments, Memories, Milestones, Us

Solar Eclipse 2017

The total solar eclipse of 2017 was an underwhelming experience in our part of the country. From what I saw on the live streaming of the eclipse, for folks who experienced it first hand, it was spectacular and profound – the temporary darkness smack in the middle of the day, the sudden chilling of the air, and the realization that we are all connected by this cosmic energy. I can only imagine!

We too had our share of fun. Yesterday, Da had made a contraption out of a carton for our viewing. It was super fun parading in and out of the house to catch a glimpse of the sun and the moon playing tango.

I hear we will be in the path for the next total solar eclipse in 2024, so better luck to us then.

See that crescent shaped sun? 

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Experiences, Family, Gratitude, Holidays, Kids, Little Moments, Memories, Now

Kids and summer break

The kids are on the last week of summer vacation. The past 6 weeks have gone by in the blink of an eye. Another milepost in the passage of time. Barring a couple of weeks, the boys  have been attending summer camps. Between my dance productions and all the construction work, that seemed to be the fair thing to do. 

It gladdens my heart to see Hari rested and relaxed. He has had his fill of cricket, baseball and books for the summer. The poor child has been suffering from allergies this month, must be a combination of pollen and all the dust floating around with the construction work. It must be frustrating to have fragmented sleep but the child has been taking it in stride – “I sneeze and have runny nose, but I end up slowly drifting  off to sleep. So don’t worry about it amma”  

Ram has been fervently working on Perler beads, teaching himself from google images and youtube videos. As I write this post, he is trying his hands on 3D designs. When he is not working on fuse beads, he is lost to the written word. The child sure knows to enjoy his own company. We have read so little together this summer. Our reading during breakfast is currently non-existent. Partly because I have not made the time and partly because there is very little eating going on at breakfast when reading is involved. We just need to find a way to sneak in some reading time together. I am not ready to let go of that yet.

We still have not figured out the extra activities for the school year. For Hari, we have a rough sense. For Ram, some homework is still in order. 

I am not ready for back to school yet. I have neither spent quality nor quantity time with my rambunctious bundles of joy.  No matter what else I may have accomplished, the summer still feels incomplete.

“It’s okay, it’s okay,” I console myself in an act of self-compassion.  I cannot have it all. But the bigger truth is, even when I may have been clueless about their days, I have been quietly soaking in the finer things that parenting entails. Enjoying the glint of naughtiness in their eyes, swelling with pride when they save treats for each other, loving them all over as they peacefully drift to dreamland, taking in the sight of them deeply engrossed in their books, and watching them devour cookie dough ice cream with anticipation although they have had it a million times. 

This summer has not been a summer of going away, beach trips, bike rides or even play dates. It has been a time of quiet presence, simple living, and glorious nothingness in our household. 

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