Tag Archives: birthday

PAINTED BIRTHDAY DREAMS or A NORMAL FEELING SUNDAY:

“I just want things to feel normal.”

We’ve all had that thought. I don’t know if we’re ever going back. Life never does. It moves forward stubbornly and relentlessly as hard as we try to saddle it, slow it, turn it. It keeps moving forward.

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We have to find ways to, at best, ride it and guide it. Create a new and even more wonderful normal. Well do that.

Today though, for Anaiya’s 7th birthday, we created a sense of that old normal. And it was great.

Jaanu set the stage by cleaning the garage and making it “spic and span” for his sis. Yeah. He did that.

Tito Foi, Dadiji and the spirit of Dadaji kicked it off with a visit and some QT.

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Then, thanks to the birthday party hosted by Nanaji and Naniji, we created a little art studio in our garage (heaters worked!) and everyone had a good time.

Painting. Oh man. I tell you. Anaiya picked out a specific paint by numbers for each kid who came. For them. For a reason. And that warmed my heart. We were limited by the size of the garage and space we could create, I only wish we could have delivered on her full invite list.

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That aside, I have rarely been more proud of Anaiya as it was one of those moments. Those life defining moments. She realized that her birthday is about celebrating the people who make her life full. She not only picked paintings but helped each kid get set up and my heart is full.

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We had some fun ideas too. Like having each kid stand on the ledge in the garage so we could trace their outlines and name them. I love that the neighborhood kids are locked in, age 4-8, on our garage wall forever. And finally, who doesn’t love apple cider with bourbon on a cold day.

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#iamgrateful and #iamthankful to the fam and friends who made today wonderful. So wonderful it felt … like a normal Sunday in January for all of us.

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For the kids who joined us, I’ll say it: I love ya, and thanks for blessing our house with your energy and blessing Anaiya with your friendship.

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And for this amazing kid, I’m happy she felt the love. Love you, Magic.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MAGIC or WE’RE HERE FOR YOUR SMILE

I’ve got a longer tribute to our 7 years old daughter coming. I’ve no words for her.

I can’t believe that last night was the last time I’d hug her as a 6 year old. Ever.

Maybe it’s melodramatic but every year that thought shakes me awake a bit more.

A couple of weeks ago, Anaiya said she “missed the diner”. When I asked why, she said “I really miss the animals and the trees and the rain”.

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Not a diner. You miss The Rainforest Cafe.

So we brought it home to her.

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This was an absolute blast.

#iamgrateful and #iamthankful for the inspiration (Anaiya and Jaanu) and the freedom to pursue that inspiration no matter how ridiculous (thank you Priya KC Bhatt).

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The kids adored it. They tossed coins into the croc fountain. Yukked it up with the parrot. Approached and pet the snake with caution.

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And they want to leave it up as long as we can.

Why not? We are here to make you feel loved and to help your smile reach it’s fullest potential.

We try every day. We fail a lot.

Sometimes, like today. The stars in our humble rainforest align, and the four of us know we got it just right.

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I love you, magic. You inspire me to pursue greater things. You’re simultaneously my catalyst, my fuel, my compass, and my destination.

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TYMMPB… | You’re the Best in the History

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I don’t remember the first time you said it. I do remember hearing it for the first time; and going absolutely bonkers.

We were doing yoga in the morning during the early days of COVID-19 and as we sat and talked about what the day held, what was going to make us happy, what was going to get in the way of our happy, what was going to be fun, and what was going to get in the way of our fun; in the midst of that logical juxtaposition of what you want, what you control, what gets in the way, and of that, what you control, somehow we stumbled upon “history”.

Your sister spoke first. And as her usual, eloquent and loquacious self, found a way into a spotlight where there wasn’t one, and then proceeded to find a way to own it.

What were you going to do? You were still a couple months away from knocking on 4’s door and here she was, the love of your life, your role model, choosing to go first in expressing her gratefulness in the morning leaving you to follow?

Was that even fair?

Do they have Mike Birbiglia open for someone who’s trying standup for the first time? You know?

She wasn’t better by design; only by years. At this stage in your life she’s got 50% more experiences than you do. It’s not reasonable to have you follow.

You let her roll. But your lips started turning up at the corners.

And when she finished, you dropped your greatest line and now the way I plan to talk going forward in celebration of amazing things always:

“The best in the whole history.”

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It’s so perfect.

It encapsulates you.

It’s succinct. Never take 12 words to say what you can say in 6.

It’s powerful. Never leave doubt on how you’re feeling at the moment.

It’s uniquely generous. Never just give, give in a way people haven’t experienced before.

It’s memorable. Never be forgettable, by choosing to be, say, and do things in unforgettable ways.

It’s sincere. Never fake anything. Ever.

It’s on your sleeve. Never wear anything in your heart or mind, that you wouldn’t wear on your sleeve too.

I love you. You are my absolute and undeniable homie.

I’ve never felt so comfortable expressing my love to someone. Even your sister, at some point, is like “Buhboo, you can’t love me this much!” But you? Naw’man. You? You escalate. When I tell you that you’re the best kid in the world.

Well; you tell me I’m the best buhboo in the history.

A few hours ago you were three; now, at this moment, you’re four. Even you’re reading changed from yesterday to today!

You will never be three to you again. But I want you to know, to me, you’ll always be …

…a little bit of you at one…

…a little bit of you at two…

…a little bit of you at three…

…a little bit of you at four … and I’m so excited to learn about what that means.

The world. We included. Did a lot to you this year. You switched schools a few times. You moved from your Nana and Naniji’s comfortable daily love to a new home without them. You faced COVID-19. You got scratches. And bruises. On your face, your arms, and dare I say and admit, your heart.

You had people debating you when you weren’t there to be.

But every single day I look at you and I’ll say, man, given what the world and we included have thrown at you, you’re so…damn…good.

We owe you more and we owe you better.

People rise and fall to the expectations you set for them, son.

You’ve called each of us the best in the history. It’s our job to rise to that level and I’ll tell you, we’re getting after it.

As for you? Today You Make Me Proud Because of how real you are; and how wonderful you can make the world feel. You have a gravitational pull that isn’t based on mass (that’s me).

As you step into 4 and build on what’s before, I am so proud of who you are fighting to become every day; and I’m more excited about the kid I’m going to be talking about going into 5.

I love you, homie. You truly are incomparable; you are the greatest son in the history.

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PS: This year I made you gummy animals for your birthday treat; the ones filled with NERDS are INCREDIBLE! We even made you a dragon one as a primer for How to Train your Dragon: The Hidden World!

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But going back to that whole “best in the history” thing we were talking about; you see, 3 days ago you woke up one morning, and when we were getting ready for breakfast you did this dance asking me for gummy bears.

Yeah. Gummy bears.

What’s funny is 2 days earlier I had decided I was going to make you Gummy Bears, ordered all the stuff, and it was on the way.

So I am wicked happy you’re going to have Gummy Bears on your birthday, homie.

And even moreso, that you proclaimed your craving for them while wearing a shirt that would have made JJ happy in pursuit of the Goodest of Times.

But, I’ll tell you, I’ll be as busy as a one-legged cat in a sandbox if one of the greatest moments in my history as a Buhboo (aka father), isn’t the fact that I tapped into your Gummy Bear longing days before you did …

…and then delivered on it.

We got 2020, homie. We got it; because we got each other.

I love you. And all you’re becoming. And all you’ve been.

 

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HBD TITO FOI

We weren’t with you today, but, you know we are with you always. Kids tell the truth. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes it’s amazing. Like this love here. But it’s the truth. So…you can’t ever deny this video and this love.

For that #iamgrateful and #iamthankful HBD

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BOOGIE, ON DOWN or HBD TITO FOI

Man. What a great video to see this morning. Incredible song. The choreography looks like a blast. And the families are putting smiles on my face.

All of ’em. I’m also loving Phil Wright as the hype man jumping into each sequence with a little positive reinforcement.

#iamgrateful and #iamthankful for video shares like this. Thanks Ami Shah for the share. This goes out to lots of people but today, hopefully this helps my sis start her birthday off right. Happy Birthday Anu Kiran!

Enjoy.

You know we’ll have Jaanu and Anaiya doing this in a few years (heck, maybe sooner!)

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DADDY | 12/40 or HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PRIYA

Today marks Day 12. 12 days since my Daddy left the physical world. Hinduism is incredibly ritualistic. I’ll leave it at that. But in essence, our family is using the next few days as a way to help my father’s soul find peace as it rises to the universal soul, while also slowly bringing an end to the mourning period at which point the family is supposed to more formally transition back to normal life.

Yeah. Thanks for the roadmap, Hinduism.

What I do love about the way we celebrate someone’s death is one key point: danam, which literally translates to gift or offering, but in the context of mourning and death rituals, it more spiritually means charity. Our family will travel to a local school for children facing physical and mental difficulties, and bring them a fun, healthy and indulgent lunch. 200 kids. My father spent his life serving people (family, friends, the community at large). For all the pujas, prayers, moments of silence, and fantastically colorful and sense overwhelming procedures, this is the single greatest thing we are doing to honor Daddy’s legacy and soul. This is the single greatest thing we can do to help him achieve universality (though he’s done more, with plenty leftover, to cover his journey and credit a world with what he has left over).

12. That’s the 12.

The 40? That’s my wife. She turns 40 today. You’ve heard me write, over and over again, that Daddy said out loud and often, that Priya is the single greatest thing to happen to me and to our family.

He knew his sh*t.

Today’s her birthday. A big milestone birthday. On the day that the celebration of my Daddy’s life moves from the inauspicious (mourning) toward the more auspicious (celebratory), I don’t find it to be any coincidence that we’re sharing this day with Priya’s 40th.

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She’s spent the past two weeks dealing with two kids, bouts of the flu, kids with nightmares, kids with 4am fevers, all while facing an incredibly demanding stretch at work, all while mourning and grieving for her Daddy too. And she’s done it with grace, dignity, huge smiles, and without missing a beat.

She spoke at an impromptu religious ceremony held by our community in South Jersey (what an amazing extended family, those friends we’ve known for 50 years in South Jersey) and carried the full thoughts and weight of our family on her shoulders, and delivered the kind of thank you that my Daddy would have raved about for years.

She made him proud. As she always did.

This is the woman whose vows to me during our legal ceremony 7+ years ago anchored in her promise that we will always be there for our family (collective). We didn’t know how soon or how often. But she’s never wavered.

The way she has handled the past 12 days is evidence and validation of Daddy’s earliest words to me about her: she’s the best thing.

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40 years.

12|40. Priya, you and Daddy are bonded together in eternity, in service and in the most celebratory and auspicious of ways. I smile wide today for that reason.

Hey, best thing. Happy Birthday. You make all life and love possible. Udabes. #iamgrateful and #iamthankful for you. We all are.

Note: I’ve collected all the posts and thoughts I’ve shared about my Daddy’s death in one place. Some people have found it helpful as they’ve navigated through their own experiences, or, as they’ve had to step in to support others. This is one in a series, and you can find the full list of posts here.

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TYMMPB… | You’ll Take Care of Them

There are two people in your life you have absolute, undeniable responsibility for, from the moment you’re born. Your Mumma. And your sister.

I don’t want this to sound overly dramatic; I simply want to make clear the role you play in their lives. (Note: I have the same conversation with your sis lest you think there’s some slant or bias here.)

There’s a one month period every year where this will be more important than ever: January 12 – February 15. Why? Because you’ve got Anaiya’s birthday, Valentine’s Day, and your Mumma’s birthday coming at you faster than you’ll know what to do with.

Keep calm. Give hugs. Sit in laps as long as you can; and when you can’t any longer, sleep in them. That last one lasts forever; I know, because I still sleep in my Mumma’s lap.

You did a bang up job of it this year. You let them get whacky while you just smiled, and chilled, and hugged, and loved.

Sometimes, it can really be that simple. You found a way to make their day about them, but making sure you never made it about you. So young, and already, so wise. Keep it going, Jaanu.

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And Happy Birthday, Mumma. Also, the house didn’t always look like that mess behind you. We’re moving soon.

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TMLFYI… | Mamu

Hi Mamu,

What a great weekend. And thanks for spending your birthday with me. I know you don’t like to talk about your birthday, so let’s make it our little secret? I know we’ll have plenty of those. I also think it’s good for you to start embracing the fact that you won’t be able to say no to me when I want to find a new way to celebrate your birthday. I mean, go ahead and try. Really. It’s going to be adorable to watch.

You are a man of few words, except when you have a lot of them to share, at which point, you become a man of many powerful and interesting words. I learn a lot from your words, so please keep telling me your stories. I’ll always listen. I’m promising you that now in advance of a future Mami (Nani and Nana made me write that!)

There are a lot of great memories formed from this weekend and many more to come (are we going to see fireworks at some point? What ARE those but they sound loud so I plan on crying, and I know everyone’s going to be ok with it.) But the picture below, well, that’s probably my favorite.

Happy Birthday, Mamu. Thanks for bathing me. Thanks for hanging out with me. And thanks for being my Mamu. I’ll cherish this picture for the rest of my life. Maybe we can talk about it that day when you’re walking me down the aisle (that’s what Mamu’s do, right?)

Love you,

Munchkin

PS – What’s an aisle, by the way?

PPS – I know that Nana, Nani, Mom and Dad are going to put this in a frame for you so you can put it at your desk at work. We want to make sure it’s a good frame though and the stuff they found in Martha’s Vineyard was the opposite of classy. And we know you have high standards.

Mamu

 

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TMLFYI… | Inked

Tattoo 1“MOM” your arm read. This is how we ink in our family, with the ultimate tribute to your favorite person.Tattoo 2 Given your general sense of calm, I’m fairly certain you would sleep through an actual tattoo just as easily as you did this, temporary kind.

Though let’s not get in any rush to figure that out.

Today my love for you is straight up inked. I also couldn’t be happier with your choice of tribute.

Happy Birthday to Blaise, who was kind enough to throw a party where tattoos were an option. And thanks to your Rosemary Masi for not yelling at us for leaving the party before we got to see their new house. In due time. You needed to let your tattoo heal … it was an exhausting day for you as the picture indicates.

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TMLFYI … | Laughter

Tomorrow I leave for San Francisco. I am going to miss you guys like hell. But thankfully, you took some of the sting out of my trip. How? By deciding that you were going to laugh out loud tonight.

I’ll smile on my flight, throughout the day, and in my sleep … for days thinking about this laugh.

Today my love for you is all laughter. This is the greatest sound I’ve ever heard in my life.

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