Tag Archives: family

TYMMPB… | of your Shoulders

We’ve already talked about the power of touch. About being grateful and thankful. About building bridges. We’ve covered some topics.

This might be our most important.

Give. Just. Give.

Of yourself. Of your soul. Of your wallet. Of your time. Of your energy. Of. Your. Self.

You may not realize it, but 6 months in, that’s what you’re doing right now. You’re being present. You’re spending time. You’re giving love. And hugs. And holy hell are you giving hugs. It helps that you’re a fairly huggable young man, whose body basically morphs to and absorbs the shape of whatever you hug, but still. Holy hell do you hug.

Where was I? WTH I just lost myself thinking about hugging you by the way. Remember that when I take your car keys away one night.

But give.

Think of progress. Think of your history books. Not even US History, but World History. Think of how we got from Pyramids to Skyscrapers. From Woodrow Wilson to Barack Obama. From suffering to suffrage. From infant mortality to required rear-facing car seats up to like, 90 lbs (I exaggerate, but still.)

We got there because people gave forward. Ideas. Time. Energy. People gave. To make the world better than it was.

I look back on my childhood and even early adulthood and realize I never gave enough, and I never acknowledged, enough, what I was given. Perhaps the most important thing I was given were shoulders. To lean on, to cry on, and then, and now, to stand on.

I ask that you acknowledge always the shoulders you are standing on so you are thankful for what you’ve been given, but perhaps even more importantly, you look up, you look forward, and adjust your shoulders for the feet looking for their foothold. It will come at you sooner than you think. Your ability to make an impact in this world and to give starts on Day 1. (Nice work, by the way.)

TYMMPB | December

You make an amazing elf. You will, undeniably, make, an even more incredible person. I’ll leave the definition of “incredible” to you, forever and for always.

Today you make me proud because in you, I see already, such an incredible ability to give.

Go on and dust your shoulders off, Jaanu.

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TYMMPB… | #iamgrateful and #iamthankful

Two years ago I hit a rough spot at work. I have many of those. I hope one day I can explain why … so you don’t have those yourself.

Two years ago, I hit a rough spot at work, and I made an active choice. I was going to spend every some time every single day talking about what made me grateful and what made me thankful.

I did this for a long time.

About a year later, we realized we were going to have you.

And today, two years later, here we are. Here you are. And you’ve plugged yourself into the perfect place. You are the love your sister’s life, from moment one; and your mother and I feel the same.

TYMMPB | November

Two years removed, I look at this moment and say unequivocally: #iamgrateful and #iamthankful. I say I am, and I tell you Jaanu, no matter how I may act in precise moments, I always and I always will be. You (and your sister) have made certain of it.

Today you make me proud because, today, you have given me yet another reason to be forever grateful and forever thankful.

I love you, homie. We were a family before you; but we are only a complete family because of you.

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TYMMPB … | We Click on the Immeasurable

Rulers. Scales. Tape. Google Analytics.

These are all tools you use to measure, Length. Width. Height. Weight. Clothing. And the performance of your website.

What gets measured, gets done, goes an adage you will probably here when you get to working (it makes me sad that some things, I believe, will never change.)

What you’ll learn over time though, is that what truly matters is the space between everything that can be measured. The specific and the measurable gives us security and confidence that we can truly know the world (we can’t).

What’s in-between however, is infinite. It moves in every direction. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, sure; but the truest distance between two points is actually magic. With all the things that matter, there’s no straight line, just infinite emotion and hope and love shooting out in every possible direction.

It’s immeasurable. And the immeasurable, the thing you can’t know or measure, the thing you can only believe, is the only way to explain moments like this.

TYMMPB | October

You. And Dadi Masi. How you and your sister have forged such a strong bond with her when geography, time and space conspire to enforce the opposite, I can’t know. I can only know, it’s beautiful, and it’s immeasurable.

And it’s further evidence that you’re mine. Today, you make me proud because you understand that sometimes, you don’t need proof or evidence, you just need to feel.

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TYMMPB… | You Build Bridges

It ain’t right.

It.

Just.

Ain’t.

Right.

Jaanu, there are some people who are trying to turn us into a world of walls. Walls have sides. Not the good kind. The kind you take. Not the kind you leave.

I’m not a fan of walls. Your Mom and I are looking at buying a house soon and every time we walk into a place the first thing I’m looking at is what walls we can take down. I get them. Walls are necessary. Like medicine is necessary. Like funky cheese is necessary.

But too many walls and they lose their purpose. You move from a place where you’re keeping the bad things out, to a place where you’re keeping only you, in.

That’s why I prefer bridges. Bridges have sides too. The kind you talk about because you’re committed to leaving from or going to. The bridge isn’t the end goal. It’s the vehicle that enables the ultimate end goal: connections.

TYMMPB | September Sandwich

Today you make me proud because, just a few months in, and you already get the value of bridging. Keep doing that hard work and heavy lifting, BBCC.

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My $.02 | Family and Handoffs

What a great family weekend in the Poconos. We haven’t spent nearly enough time with the family, which means you, my loveliest of little ones, haven’t built that connect yet either. We’ll get better about it. There’s no choice. These are the people who raised me and every single person in one of the following pictures has had such a profound influence on my life, it’s disappointing to me how little time you’ve actually spent with them. That is on me to fix.

I can talk about the Poconos in so many ways. A few highlights:

  • Dadaji being your formal stroller pusher. He likes predictability and schedules. And now he’s got one very clear place to own the relationship with you.
  • Dadiji filled with pride. When you smile. When you turn. When you eat. When you do anything, I swear I can see her heart swell from the outside in.
  • Dadi Naniji. One of the sweetest and most purely loving people in the world doing what she does best with everyone, with you — loving.
  • Hitu Dada Mama. One of the quirkiest members of the family and one who will undoubtedly become one of your favorites. He’s always behind the scenes but he’s always there. Like in the pictures…never the subject, always enabling. And he was the first one to hold you each morning because he was awake, there, and waiting. Like he always is.
  • Charu Dadi Mami. She’s going to make you stronger and she’s going to make you laugh. And she’s also going to make you famous with her photography. With so many boys around, she’s one reason you’ll be spoiled and supported unconditionally.
  • Chetu Dada Mama. The baby whisperer. You already have some amazing photos with him but they don’t capture his thirst for life. His will be a pair of arms and a lap that you will always gravitate to — every child does.
  • Prity Dadi Mami. She fought hard to have you sleep in her room but we were silly parents about it. 🙂 It happens. She’s  the one who made this weekend happen and you’ll see, that when family events happen, she’s such a powerful glue. She was the first person to welcome your mom to this side of the family.Massage
  • Tito Foi. If there’s a person who loves you and thinks about you more, please let us know. She gave you one of the longest, most relaxing, and most public (there was quite an audience) massages you’ll ever have. Expect more such pampering through eternity.
  • Suraj Kaka. The human jungle gym. Not just for kids, for adults too. It was his first time meeting you but you can see the love in his eyes. You’ll always be protected when he’s there. He’s truly all heart.
  • Holly Aunty. For many of us, the first time meeting her, so you were in no different a place. But she embraced you the right way, and you’re going to have a friend for life in that one — for now though, we’ll jus tfocus on commenting on each other’s Facebook walls. 🙂
  • Sohum Kaka. Daddy’s older brother. He’s off to San Francisco to become Teacher Man, and do what he does best — make other people better. I couldn’t be happier that he got time with you before he left. You know, he was the first baby Daddy actually remembers holding and changing diapers for?
  • Neil Kaka. Swoon. That’s what most people do around him and I’m sure this time will be no different. But I think, he’s met his match. And you can see it in his face and the way he talks about you to his friends. The swooning is going the other way. And you know he’s made so many trips to see you here in Jersey City — though maybe it’s because of Daddy’s fridge, too?
  • Eeshan Kaka. He took you to your first coffee shop, you know. Eeshan Kaka is saving the world starting with North Carolina, so it was great to make sure you got extended time with him here. He’s got a mind and brainpower that reinforces your pedigree — and compensates for Daddy in so many ways.
  • Amu Kaka. He’s been the same personality since he was 12 months old — and it’s bound to be one of your favorites. We’re going to drive down to visit Kaka while he’s at Delaware, and we’re going to let him carry you and push the stroller. Because that’s a great way to pick up girls. The problem might be, that based on how he looks at you (and tweets about you), he may miss all the action around him.

That’s part of your family, munchkin. Look at all that love. And if it’s hard for you to read all this, maybe it’s better for you to check out the pictures below. One of my favorite goodbyes. As a man who has struggled with goodbyes for ages (one of the best parts of my childhood were when your Dada Mama’s used to come visit almost every Friday, one of the worst parts of my childhood were when they would leave on Sunday) this brought me to tears. Every person having their own unique moment with you. Every person smiling at you smiling back.

It’s the one thing I think everyone in the world needs more of. It’s the one thing I want most for you: to feel loved. Always. Unconditionally.

As your family hugged you, kissed you, reinforced their love for you, and then passed you along to the next in line, I couldn’t help but feel certain that you are one who’s loved in ways that go beyond any form of measurement. And that, makes Mommy and me, the happiest people in the world.

Now, to the handoff!

Holly

Suraj

1-Nani

2

3

4

5

7

8

9

10

11

 

Feeling loved?

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TMLFYI… | South Indian

So it’s actually dosa. Or as I like to spell it, Dosa. I capitalize because it’s a divine food.

Today, my dear, was your first time going out to dinner. You were spectacular. The rest (Chadhas and Motianis) of us feasted on Dosas (fully varied across the table, from rava to paper, from mysore to plain, from masala inside to masala out.) But we crushed ourselves some Dosas in Edison at the world famous Swagath.

What I love about this whole trip is that throughout her time carrying you, your Mom had one craving on one day — that’s it.

Guess what it was for?

You nailed it. Dosa. Capital D. Don’t worry, you got some with your nightcap I’m sure.

Dosa

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TMLFYI… | Stretching

Today My Love for you is Stretching. It’s all about stretching.

I could watch you do this for hours. And the interesting thing is, I have. There is no more adorable moment than watching you unfurl yourself and extend to the most far off points of your bassinet. You’ll turn. You’ll stretch. You’ll simultaneously shrink and compress your parts of your body while extending others — like your body is competing with itself. Everything will fluctuate. Side-to-side. Out and to the right, down and to the left. Straight as an arrow to crescent shaped.

I love it. At 7am before work, at 8pm after dinner, or at 2am when it’s usually just you, me and the TV (or the past few nights, Kindle and a book on getting you to sleep healthy.) I absolutely love it.Anaiya Running

I do not shy away from facts. And all evidence points to the fact that you are the greatest thing the world has ever seen (and the most adorable.) Happy one month birthday, munchkin. You’re stretching and expanding our definition of love in ways we could have never imagined before.

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PDA | Love in the Time of Shoulder Surgery

To the general reader: I am really not sure how to begin to tell you how lucky I am. So I’ll start by telling you about a bit of bad luck.

January 30th, 2012
I’m not wise beyond my years, but I’m certainly old beyond my years. When my shoulder pain hit a level where rest and cortisone shots weren’t helping, it was time to investigate further. Hearing doctor after doctor say things like “How did something like this happen to you” or “We usually don’t see this in patients under 50” kinda sucks. Perhaps the doctors thought they could alleviate my physical pain by focusing on psychological torture? If so, very innovative. Kudos.

On Monday, January 30th I went in for surgery on my right shoulder, my dominant hand. Orthopedists have told me this is one of the most painful procedures they perform, not because of the surgery itself, but because of the recovery:

  • In a sling for 4-6 weeks
  • Not able to be on a treadmill/elliptical for 6-8 weeks
  • Full strength at 6 months
  • PT 3x a week all the way through

This was going to require commitment. As I learned, the real commitment was not going to come from me.

Little/Big Things
What is love? Does it ever peak? Does it morph and transform? Is it like an old, favorite book? One that is beautiful at first because of its substance, but grows more beautiful over time because of everything else? Because it’s been your favorite for so long? Because the lines and creases give it character that’s uniquely yours? Because the words haven’t changed, but what they mean has changed with you?

I don’t know how to define it. I’m 36. Cut me a break.

I don’t know how to define it but I have borne witness to it, delivered fully, placed at my feet, swaddling me through the past few weeks—all at the hands of my amazing and extraordinary wife.

This story needs no embellishment, no creative license, no artistic flair. It merely needs accurate and honest context, and documentation of facts.

First, it is important for you to know about my wife’s work life. She is an investment banker. Except for the two weeks we were traveling through India and the UAE, from before Thanksgiving through this very week, she has worked 100+ hours a week. That’s at least 15 hours a day, 7-days a week. We expect it to continue. Awesome.

Next, you need to understand my circumstances post-surgery. Imagine what you’d do with the temporary loss of your dominant hand. I tried to simulate the experience before my surgery so I could troubleshoot what I may need to have in order to exist post-surgery. I failed because I overestimated my abilities and underestimated my limitations.

Off the top of my head, here are some of the things she did for me…in the first 24 hours:

She did these while taking work calls and lugging around her laptop looking for hotspots. These are some of the little/big things she did. Little for her because she thinks nothing of it. Big for me because without them I would have been, in-order: blind, hurt, disconnected, and naked.

My Guardian Angel
I never really thought about the phrase “Guardian Angel” before. I thought of the term “Dark Angel” before, but mostly because it is how the world met Jessica Alba. But “Guardian Angel”, what an apropos term for my wife. She’s both my “guardian”, someone who has protected me and cared for me through my recovery, and my “angel”, a benevolent, attending spirit.

As I’ve watched my wife care for me with grace, sincerity, and such instinct and intuition, I am infinitely proud and happy to share that more than once she has moved me to tears.

….She refused to sleep in our bed. I have to sleep on a recliner to protect my shoulder. So she slept on the couch next to me. Every time I shifted in my seat, adjusted my strap, coughed…my wife’s upper body would pop-up from the pillow and a feathery, luminous, graceful voice would elevate slightly higher “Hi Baby”. She acknowledged me and supported me in the way I prefer to be supported. Every. Single. Time.

….She insists on taking me to Physical Therapy. So we wake up every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5:30 am so she can drive me to PT, sit with me there for 90 minutes, drive me back home, get ready for work, and then head out the door as soon as she possibly can. In the beginning, when I was taking meds, she would wake up earlier and make me some sort of breakfast so my stomach could, well, stomach the meds.

….She makes me presentable. I couldn’t think of a way to say it better. She showers me. She gets my toothbrush ready. She has to put on my deodorant. She has to dress me since I still have a wicked hard time even getting a T-shirt on. She has to do this at 5:30 when we head to PT, and then again before she leaves for work. In the midst of getting herself ready, she has me to take care of as well.

….She smiles the entire time. If you’re reading this you know my wife, and if you know my wife you know her smile. Whether 2am for a Percocet fix (usually accompanied by some food or beverage as outlined above), 7am while she’s watching me struggle through lifting my shoulder, Noon, whenever possible, when she tries to bring me lunch…whenever, whatever, however…she smiles. Even when her eyes have been open for an unreasonable streak of consecutive hours…her face smiles at me.

She makes me feel, every single day, that everything is going to be ok. And you know what, it is. My life is so very much better than ok. Because of her.

Luck Be My Lady
It’s been a tough couple of weeks purely related to my ability to function, day-to-day, independently. I’ve never experienced it before. Yet over that same period, I saw the most beautiful and amazing woman in the world taking care of me in a way I did not think was possible. In return, and surprising to me, I found myself willing to give in completely.

We all take our mom’s and sister’s for granted because they have always been there, they have always done for us, and they are our family—they are us, they did not choose us. With my wife, however, it is something different. On June 1st 2010 we finished navigating years of living, masses of people, expanses of land, millions of experiences … and we picked each other, forever.

There’s no self-deprecating comment for me to make here. She chose me, she loves me, and because of her choice I feel like the luckiest man alive (“feel like”, lest I diminish the sentiments of others who are lucky enough to feel the same.)

Priya, you are extraordinary.

9:40am(-ish), 2/1/2012
You were exhausted. You had worked late the night before. You had no sleep that night. You woke up at 5:45am to wake me up at 6am so you could feed me, dress me, medicate me before we got on the road at 6:45am for my first PT appointment. You also had a critical 10am meeting you needed to get into the office for.

I, of course, slept through the night.

You got everything ready. You helped me undress. You bathed me, taking extra care to avoid all the gadgets, drips, bandages, and wounds on my neck and shoulder. You dressed me. You did all of the same for yourself, alternating fluidly between me and you, you and me.

You might remember what happened next, you might not. I do. I watched it all with wonder.

You had just spent about a minute helping me put a T-shirt on. A full minute. You then watched me put my sling on. Trying to pull one loop over my head, strap the other around my waist, and make sure the padding attached to my sling that is used to keep my forearm straight hadn’t decided to go rogue. You knew I wanted to do this myself, I felt like I had to do this myself. So you stood right by me with your hand on my other shoulder, just encouraging.

Time.
Ticking.
Away.

I made it work and you patiently supported me through, even though my efforts led to a 2-inch velcro driven scratch down the middle of my forehead (it’s finally disappearing). After I put the sling on, I turned to you…

…and I broke down for a moment in your arms.

I broke down because you were shouldering our burdens—not just yours, and not just mine, but ours. You were doing all of the work. You were meeting me all-the-way. You were my wife, my nurse, my cook, my therapist, my eyes, my hands; you were literally my everything and you made me realize how lucky I was to have someone to lean on so fully and completely.

Tuesdays
Have you read Tuesdays with Morrie? I have, and I thought it was great. I’m not sure how many people one meets in heaven. And I remember rooting against the Fab Five when I was growing up. But in “Tuesday’s with Morrie”, Mitch Albom wrote a simple, emotional, beautiful book. I’m pretty sure most of the people in my life read it because Oprah told them to. I’m still not sure how I feel about that.

I read TwM years ago, when I was even less of an adult and less of a man. My reflections and memories of the book are now a random snippet of still shots, words and phrases, and even self-produced video clips based on the images and senses conjured by the words on paper. Of those memories, the single most powerful revolves around this quote:

“Take my condition. The things I am supposed to be embarrassed about now — not being able to walk, not being able to wipe my ass, waking up some mornings wanting to cry — there is nothing innately embarrassing about them. It’s the same for women not being thin enough, or men not being rich enough. It’s just what our culture would have you believe. Don’t believe it.”

Let me explain. For all intents and purposes I am fully capable of wiping my own backside. As some members of Fuqua’s Class of 2006 can attest, I am also the only person who has ever done this (entertaining story). But this quote resonated with me because it reminded me of my Ba (paternal grandmother), who lived with us for 17+ years, fully bedridden.

I read TwM a few years after my Ba had passed. TwM was anchored in my memory of her, her condition, her experience. Morrie was my Ba. TwM triggered sympathetic emotions because of this association, and my relationship with this book has continued as such for most of the past decade. I viewed Morrie’s lack of embarrassment as a concession, something he had to do because he had no other choice. I thought it was an amazing man simply finding a way to deal.

A couple of weeks ago, things changed.

Thank You
I’ve reflected on Morrie’s quote over the past few weeks and find myself relating to his words in a very new way. There were so many moments when you were doing all of the little things for me, where I felt like an absolute child. I was completely in your hands.

And the entire thing felt completely natural. Utterly comfortable. The furthest thing from embarrassment. With each new thing that I could not do and that I needed you to do for me, I realized that I was luckier than even I had imagined on our wedding day. I had found that person who would shield me from pain, doubt, and embarrassment for the rest of our lives together. In you, I found the contentment that Morrie discussed in his final days.

Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Birthday, Baby. But more importantly, thank you. Thank you for helping me feel capable at my weakest, privileged at my neediest, and loved all the way through.

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