Experiences, Family, Gratitude, Holidays, Introspection, Learnings, Life, Loss, Wishes

Reflections and Wishes

“Breathe in. Breathe out,” I tell myself.  I feel heavy hearted as I recall the events from this year. I scroll back to the entries since the beginning of the year by way of reassuring myself that this year too has had its share of joyful events. And I am not disappointed. There is plenty to rejoice about. Life is kind that way, it tosses bouquets even when it throws brickbats.

My mil’s health setbacks and her subsequent passing away this year has undoubtedly dented our lives. And just like that this year marked the end of an era for the family. We miss amma at random times for random reasons. Sometimes we talk about it and at other times, we just sit tight, keeping a low profile, waiting for the feeling to pass.

“Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande is the book that has had an immense influence on me this year. Human body is a complex and sophisticated machine and like any other machine, it is bound to wear and tear with time.  The book made me think a lot about aging and mortality and humbled me.  We can’t live life fearing the worst. Nor should we live life as though we have unlimited time on earth. We should strive to live our fullest in the moments given to us, with the people around us.  

This year has been a milestone year in so many ways. Da and I celebrated our 15 years of togetherness. Hari started middle school and Ram began kindergarten.  We became US citizens and voted for the first time.

I took up a lot of volunteering projects this year – at school, at the local library, and in Sunday school, and realized that there is always so much to do. The more activities I engage in outside home, the more motivated I feel to come back to my home, to my people. I experimented with cooking quite a bit this year, and loved practicing eating right and eating clean. I jogged consistently for the first half of the year, shed some pounds and felt like I took responsibility for my health, I tried my hands on meditation and was awed by the power that mind has over the body. 

My heartfelt wishes to you and your family in the brand new year.  I wish you clarity amidst chaos, faith and hope in the face of panic, strength and belief to fight setbacks, focus when distractions rule, interests and passions that fill you, family and friends to love and cherish, a healthy body, a peaceful mind and a sound intellect. Lightness, cheer and merriment. Happy 2017.

Standard
Holidays, Little Moments, Milestones, Uncategorized

Holiday Updates

  • Santa came, and so did the Tooth Fairy…!!! Our little Ram lost his first baby tooth this past weekend. His grown up tooth has already sprouted, so he is technically not a pokka vai. The Tooth Fairy left a 5-dollar note for the child. The first child glared at his parents, rolled his eyes, and asked, “How come the Tooth Fairy left me only one dollar for my first tooth and nothing for the seventeen that fell after that?”  What can I say, the Tooth Fairy seems to have suffered from a major memory loss…!
  • Da and Ram were playing with the 3D printing pen that Santa left for Hari, who could care less about the unsolicited gift.  Ram was intrigued. “Appa, how come you and I are the ones doing scientific stuff and have talked a lot about 3D printers but anna gets a 3D printing pen?”  What can I say, Santa seems to have had a major lapse in judgement!
  • We visited our friends in the next state over the long weekend. During my tête–à–tête with little N the earlier day, he told me with unmistakable excitement in his voice that he was looking forward to our visit  more than Christmas. We outrank Santa, can you believe that?
  • Your truly has watched three movies this week. Fantastic Beasts with the one and only spouse on a rare day off for both of us and not for the kids. Loved every minute of the movie. Then, went to Dangal with a friend. The movie stretched in parts, but overall good one. And today, Hari, Ram and I went for Sing. A very nice kids movie that I too enjoyed!
  • I have been off work since two days prior to Christmas. Unsurprisingly I had grand dreams to tackle all the pending stuff but surprisingly I am not bothered that I have not accomplished a fraction of things on my To Do list. This is the calm before the storm, so I might as well make the most out of it. Once work and school resume, it’s going to be a whirlwind of activities and deadlines till next Fall. So yeah, stay calm and rest when you can!
Standard
Holidays, Uncategorized

Happy Holidays

“Mommy, I don’t think tooth fairy is real because there are no fairies in real life. But I know Santa is real,” said Ram without a shred of doubt. He laid out cookies and carrots for Santa and his reindeer tonight. Hari kept telling, “He is so cute amma. He thinks Santa is real.” 

Both the kids went to bed filled with excitement from head to toe. They tossed and turned unable to sleep. I know they will be up early in the morning and I hope they like what Santa has left for them.

Happy Holidays everyone…!

Standard
Family, Food, Gratitude, Holidays, Kids, Little Moments, Memories

Good old Family Time

Once you lose momentum, getting your rhythm back is a challenge of gigantic proportion. I have been drafting this post for the past couple of nights. The tardiness is not due to lack of intent;  it was because yours truly literally fell asleep midway typing this post. With that disclosure out of the way, I hit the resume button on my gratitude journal.

heart

I clean the house, one room after the other, in an attempt to make up for the lower decibel levels and to help us get back to routine after a precious week spent with family. As I put the things away in their place, random memories from the past week flit by.

I stumble on my niece’s small heart shaped lego piece and a smile plays on my lips. This was one of her precious possessions, one she kept a very close tab on, not letting it out of her sight for a minute.  This little doll, by that I mean my sweet niece Shraddha, is a charmer. Atleast she knows the way to her athai’s heart.  With a twinkle in her eyes, the four year old picked her potato fry and commented, “Athai, potato is my favorite kai, thank you for making it so crispy.”  The look of delight and wonder on her face as she hung the barbie ornament in the christmas tree is a sight tucked in my treasure trove of memories. The way she strung letters or stretched her spelling to read and spell were moments of athai pride.  The home depot apron and the rolling pin tickle memories of our cooking adventures this week – the mutter panner, the aloo paratha, and the banana bread. The crayons, markers, the inflatable toys, all carry stories of cousins bonding and the delightful unending conversations amongst them, especially the pretend game lovers Ram and Shraddha.

I call Da “ukil” just like how my little nephew Amrit calls Da (ukil=uncle, athimber is too hard and too new for a soon-to-be-two year old, so ukil it is!). This past week Alexa has been part and parcel of our family fun. We would have listened to  Baa Baa blacksheep a hundred times. My nephew listening to the words as his body swayed  to the music. The squeals of delight as he saw the train chugging under the christmas tree or the way he screamed in excitement when Da returned from work or led Hari and Ram by his tiny finger to where his whim took him.  

I also enjoyed making childhood comfort foods, the combinations that amma used to prepare. Jeera sathumdhu, paruppu thogayal, kathrikia kai, arachuvitta khozhambu, mysore sathumdhu, vendakai kai, so on and so forth. There is something warm and fussy about sharing these simple childhood favorites that you grew up eating with the one you grew up with. I enjoyed seeing the dad in my brother Sathya. The tenderness with which he talks to his daughter,  the rolling up his sleeves to feed his children, and the sermonising the difference between rights and the wrongs of life to his kids. Also, how he pitched in to clean up after dinner, just the way we were taught to do as children.

My sil Wini is everything that I am not. Very paandam in all her endeavors. Be it carrying herself well or tending to her children, she does it with elan. Also seeing first hand how to eat in moderation, such self discipline this girl has! Most of all I loved seeing what a mindful parent she is, knowing her children inside out, paying attention to their rhythms.

All in all,  I am deeply grateful for the moments – small, big, rich, delightful, and everything in between that this week brought. I am thankful for the opportunity to have them in my turf for some good old family time!  

Standard
Holidays, Introspection, Life, Me, Uncategorized, Wishes

Happy Vijayadasami

A blogger friend had posed a question on her post yesterday – If you were to begin/resume some new activity tomorrow, what would it be?

Whether or not I improve, the notion of setting self-development goals brings the much needed glitter to my mundane life. This question made me want to boil the ocean but that feeble voice of reason put its foot down and refined the list for me.

1. Be more consistent with daily meditation – 10-15 mins.
2. Be mindful – give it my all to the given moment – or at least more than what I give now.
2. Blog – discover my writing voice.
3. Dance practice – 4 times per week

If the question excites you as much as it did to me, take a moment and allow your voice of reason to come up with a list. And share it with me here, if you like…!

Happy Vijayadasami to all. May you quench your thirst to learn, grow and to just be!

Standard
Experiences, Hari Katha, Holidays, Learnings, Life, Little Moments, Uncategorized

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

christmas tree

We love Christmas. It’s like the Deepavali of our house. Last afternoon, I was mentally checking off my Christmas To-do list.

  • Serial lights – done.
  • Christmas tree with ornaments – done
  • Kids wish list – done
  • Da office party – done
  • Packing gifts – done
  • Cookies for Santa and carrot for Rudolph – done
  • Playing Christmas songs – done
  • Movies and Board games – work-in-progress
  • Voice message from Santa – done
  • Santa tracking – work-in-progress

I was feeling a little proud of ourselves for doing our part. Creating happy memories for the kids to fall back on in their adult life.

As if he read my mind, Hari came up to me and asked, “Amma, do you remember last Christmas?” Just the question I wanted to be asked. I was feeling a little smug and as I was about to give the scripted answer in my head, he continued, “You thittied me (scolded me) for not doing my Tamizh homework.”  What? When did that happen? Really? seriously? I did that? That’s what you remember from last Christmas?

Ouch!. Did you hear that huge thud? It was my soaring ego crash landing.

Memories is a strange thing – it chooses you, you don’t get to choose it. As a giver, I remember only the good, I have no memory of the bad and the ugly. But as a receiver, the bad and the ugly are imprinted in his memory. No amount of the good can erase it. The hope is the good ones are coexisting counter balancing the bad and the ugly.

Much needed reality check and a lesson in humility for the afternoon. Tell you, parenting is a very humbling experience.

On that note, a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2016. The kids will be up any minute here and I can’t wait to see the smile on their faces and the excitement in their voices. Tudlu, take care!

Standard
Holidays, Little Moments, Us

Halloween Excitement

“Halloween is my most favorite holiday” proclaims Da, the man who becomes a little child at this time of the year every year. He wears his Halloween themed tshirt, looks around for masks to wear, and does all the preparatory work – from carving pumpkins to buying candies.  On the night of Halloween, he so loves house hopping with the kids. 

I am more of a silent observer and a passive participant in this festivity. I love taking the kids to town trick or treating and looking for creative costumes. Ladybugs and RedRiding hoods are my all time favorites.  One of my school mates posted a picture of his child dressed as Chicka Chicka Boom Boom alphabet tree. Now that’s called out of the box thinking, wouldn’t you agree?

I also like the pockets of innocence that little kids bring to the occasion. When Ram was two years, he would go around giving out candies instead of taking them. A couple of kids last night abandoned their candy collection efforts briefly and started playing with the slide and the trucks in our yard unmindful of the fact that they are in a stranger’s yard.

Most of all, I enjoy being part of  the post candy collection scene:

  • the endless sorting. By color, by shapes, by likes,  the criteria is endless.
  • the constant comparing – what did you get? how much did you get?
  • some trading – do you want to trade my Twix for your sour patches?
  • and the negotiation – amma, if I eat caramel apple does it count as candies? can I save the gummy bears for school snack? how about chocolate covered pretzel? Deftly throwing one thing after the other in an attempt to overwhelm the mom because the deal was they can have one candy on the day of Halloween and one more the day after. So of course, loopholes must not go to a waste. 

Hari is becoming quite the expert in pumpkin carving. This time he drew the design by hand and carved it without the pumpkin carving tools that we had misplaced. We also did something different this year. During the post Halloween season last year we got knicks knacks to mix up with candy distribution this year. 

On the costume front this year, Hari was different variations of Hulk – Bulk (Hulk in a baseball attire) and Sulk (Hulk in soccer clothes). Ram stuck to his original plan of being Superman with light saber. He went around outlining his eyes with his fingers because they had laser power, and he was using them to fight the bad guys. Da grabbed the kids’ Thor accessories. And I was just ME – the family agreed that that was scary enough!  

halloween pumpkin

Standard