Summary of the first decade.


As Sage greeted him with the usual doggy exuberance, Ryan bent down to give his nuzzling head a cuddle, he looked up from his dog, his eyes smiling:

‘Mom, I have the best life anyone could ever have!’

‘I am so happy you feel that way. Why do you say that, my love?’

‘Because I have a mother who loves me and focuses on my studies so that I learn. I have a father who loves me and helps me to be the best I can in sports. I have a sister who makes me strong by teaching me how to fight for myself. And I have a dog who teaches me to take care of him so when I have children I will know how to take care of them.’

The evening had been a dismal one for me, for various reasons.

Ryan, however, knew nothing of my turmoil and inner conflicts. And he will never know how his words magically transferred my sadness to one of hope and yes, joy. Words are powerful. They destroy but they can also restore faith – in life, in good, in innocence and in the unfettered joy of living.

Ryan tends to live his life in slow motion. He gets involved with everything that is going on around him and forgets his focus. He gets so wrapped up in the world in his head that I sometimes can not reach out to him. This frustrates me sometimes as chores need to get done, places need to be reached on time. When I cease for a moment to really look at the person that he is growing up to be, I see that he just carries with him a joy, and he chose that moment, unknowingly,  to sprinkle his joy dust on me.

I see him say an encouraging word to his discouraged teammate. I see him saying an exuberant hello to a diffident little boy who did not want to come to swim practice and I witness the boy’s face light up with a smile at being greeted by a teammate. The little boy’s grateful mother tells me how relieved she was at Ryan’s loud, cheery hello as she walked in with her unhappy boy. I hear from his teacher that he is a ‘nice boy’, a ‘really, really good child’. And I know he is sprinkling joy dust as he goes along his path in life. He makes me happy and lightens up my soul along with his big sister.

May the splendor of his soul never dim, my wish for this gorgeous boy who turns ten today. Happy birthday, son. May you continue to love, continue to hope and continue to feel!

Not Olympic material

Have you all seen the Proctor & Gamble advertisements where they thank the moms of famous athletes for their dedication, perseverance and sheer grit as they help their babies and toddlers become world-class athletes? I watch every single video with tears threatening to fall. My children are swimmers so I relate (rather want to relate) to that mom who wakes up at the crack of dawn, gently wakes her tiny little daughter, gets on a bus and takes her to swim practice. She sits there with love filled eyes and patient smile as her baby daughter learns to crawl in water (I either chat with other mothers or read a book or go to the gym when my children practice). Then she watches with pride and joy as her daughter, much older now, wins medals and makes her proud. In these advertisements, mothers of skaters and hockey players teach them how to skate, take them to innumerable practices, up on slopes, take care of their hurts, wipe their tears and eventually the proud moment comes – medal at Olympics. I love those ads. I feel part of a clan of mothers who dedicate their lives to the success of their children. Although I would LIKE to be one of them, in reality, I am not!

Sean wakes up at the crack of dawn to take Sahana to a 5:30 am swim practice. He, then, drives her to school, comes home, gets ready for work and then goes to work. While he does all that in the morning, I sip coffee in my comfy bathrobe, browse Facebook, look at the news and finally, lazily get ready for the day. Sean is an Olympic material dad. I am not. I have made it clear that when Sean travels, there will be no 5:30 am practices simply because I will not wake up at an ungodly hour to take anybody anywhere. But this past Sunday was different. I felt the children were not getting enough practice during the week due to my work schedule and Sean’s travel, so I had been readying myself and the children for at least four days that we will be going to 7:00 am practice on Sunday.

‘You guys make sure you sleep in on Saturday because I am taking you to practice on Sunday morning! Bright and early!’ I said on day one.

On day two, I said, ‘You know you are going to practice on Sunday morning, right? I don’t want to hear any grumblings!’

They WEREN’T grumbling. Although, I did hear a mumbled ‘That stinks’ from one of them.

I repeated something similar on day three as well – a dire declaration of ‘get your act together on Sunday morning cos we are going to practice’.

On Saturday evening, I made them get their swim bags ready by the front door. I warned them they better wake up as soon as I call them because WE ARE GOING TO THE MORNING PRACTICE ON SUNDAY MORNING!!

They casually said, ‘Yes, fine.’

I went to bed relatively early, sacrificing my reading time so I was bright and chirpy on Sunday morning. I was thinking of the mother who gently woke up her child for practice in the Proctor & Gamble advertisements. I finally felt I was contributing to their greatness in the sports arena. I wistfully smiled at the vision when they will attribute their success to their hardworking mother, who despite all, took them to practice at the crack of dawn and cheered them on as they trained.

My eyes opened the next morning, I looked at the clock – it was 7:30 am. Practice had started half an hour earlier!

My dream to be the sacrificing mother dashed to pieces as I got out of bed chuckling. Sahana woke up shortly, in a fluster. She came out of her room asking,

‘What happened?’

I said, magnanimously, ‘I decided to let you guys sleep in!’ Hey, why not make this faux pas into a generous act by a magnanimous mother? She was happy enough.

The serious swimmer, Ryan, woke up. My ploy of being magnanimous did not work with him though. That one is a work horse, he was unhappy that he did not get to go to practice.

‘I WANTED to go to practice! Why didn’t you wake meeeee?’ He whined.

I hate it when my ploys of being indulgent mother don’t work.

That same morning as I Skyped with the Olympic material father of my children, he wailed from far away land:

‘WHY ARE YOU IN YOUR BATHROBE??? Why are the children not at practice???’

I chuckled, ‘I overslept!’

And since I worked the weekend and he himself was in a far away land he was smart enough not to complain about it! I have written before, that dude is smart. He knows what’s good for him!

Long story short – if you do not see my children on the swimming block of an Olympic arena, it is not because of dearth of talent ( psssst….the older one reads my blogs, I had to write that), it is because their mama is not really the Olympic material. She does not have it what it takes 🙂 !

I am a super hero.

I, for once, will put my humility aside, turn a blind eye to all my incapabilities and declare that I am a super hero. There are many of us out there, you know. The ‘super heroness’, however, is relative. There are super duper heroes, there are super duper trouper heroes. I humbly (there is that humility again, which, by the way, I am trying to get rid of) bow in front of them. I am not a super duper hero yet, I am still a super hero. Yes, I still save the day but there is a difference between me and those of the higher ranks. The super duper heroes and the ranks above, save the day brilliantly, and after saving the day they look fantastic, they are energized and raring to go. After I save the day, I look like a wreck, my bed never looks more inviting, all I want to do is crawl into a hole and never come out….till the next morning.

Like most super heroes, I have a side kick. He does all he can to make my life run smoothly. He follows directions beautifully and teaches the two little humans, who live with us, ‘When your mommy says to do something, I jump!’ I don’t think that is helpful as that just irritates the heck out of the little ones, but my side kick believes, one day, they will get the message. The side kick is a wonderful chap who always tells me I am a superhero. But I am skeptical of his opinions because he is biased and he looks at me with these mushy gushy love tinted eyes.

‘Mom, you are a super hero!’ This comment came from one of my harshest critics, my fourteen year old daughter. I just pulled into the parking lot of the facility where my two children train for their swim team. As I unclicked my seatbelt, I heard my daughter’s bewildered voice,’Mom, look, I am covered with red rashes!’ Panic attack!! I put the car in gear and drove to the doctor’s office. I ignore the stern faces and lecture of the receptionist and the nurse ‘we really would like it if you call us first’. I plead to see the physician. They relent, Sahana gets checked, prescribed. I pick up the medicine, bring them home, get them settled. And hear, ‘I don’t feel so good!’ – the much dreaded words. Her temperature shoots up to 102.2! Second round of panic attack, yet calm outside, I administer icepack, ibuprofen, kiss and ‘you will feel better soon, darling!’ Call the doctor’s office, call the side kick, ‘Get home already!’

A couple of hours and a couple of ibuprofen later, the daughter stands next to me while I cook up some dinner. She looks at me cooking and just puts it out there,

‘Mom, you are a super hero!’

‘Haha, why do you say that?’ I ask lightheartedly.

‘Because you are!! You do all this, you take care of us, you drive us around, you write blogs, you act in plays, you go to work. When you make a commitment, you follow through and you do all of this well!’

While I served them dinner, I thought about all I do, despite my procrastination, despite my laziness. I actually don’t give myself enough credit for holding it all together. Not many of us do really. In our rush to live the day, we don’t stop to think how much we are actually getting done, what we are doing right. I, personally, have a tendency of harping on my shortcomings – how much I didn’t get done, how I let the kids down, which ones were bad mommy moments, what could I have done better! There is always room for improvement, sure. But it is equally important for all of us to give ourselves a pat on our backs, once in a while and believe when someone says, ‘Thank you, you are doing a lot for us!’

So I will believe I am a superhero because my daughter thinks so. Self doubt, insecurities, guilt give way to positivism, acknowledgment. I wrote this blog because I know self doubt will creep in, negativity will rear its ugly head. But I will have this moment, written in this blog to drive those ugly ones away. Those words said by my daughter…..maybe because the meds made her feel better and momentary gratitude flushed through her feverish brain.

Uggggh, did I detect self doubt….again??