Tag Archives: mom

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.

DADDY | 2-14 5

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.

12 days.
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.

TYMMPB | Feb

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

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TMLYFI… | “Never”

My magic. I’m inspired to share this moment with you. I promised myself that after year 1 I’d reduce what I posted out of fear of embarrassing you at some odd point down the line. Digital history from birth is still new to us, and is just becoming a point of debate. So I don’t want to do something you’ll regret.

But today, you made my life (let it be noted that on a daily basis, you tend to do this.) Yet, see, I haven’t seen you in three days. And my exposure has been limited. Partially because you are in Canada on an amazing trip with family. And partially because I am in NY working on work … that maybe I didn’t need to work so hard on.

Your extraordinary mom FaceTimed me this evening and what i saw when I accepted and the screen came to was you, head heavily rested on her shoulder, eyes, debating the world outside and the dreams inside. A hell of a debate, IMHO.

So I looked at you. I said your name. I kissed. I did everything in my power to get a response and you blinked, but nothing more. So I went to our ritual. The words I whisper to you every night since the day you were born. The words that showcase the ends of the earth I will run to for you. That close with the same word. Every single day for the past 18 months and 30 days.

That word? “Never”

And as I have done since you started acknowledging, I leave the last word for you to say. And you did.

With God (your mom) as my witness, you finished our exchange like you would had you have been on my shoulder right here in JC.

“Never.”

You said it. And I know,t hat you know, how much I know, that word means to me. The rest of the world will never know our exchange. But may the know now how it ends.

“Never.”

As in…when I will forget this moment. You are magical, my bbcc. A not so good day, turns into the greatest day ever.

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TMLFYI… | All About Fire

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. You’re on fire. And this blog is about to be reignited as well. The music video below says it all, doesn’t it.

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TMLFYI… | Weeeeeeeeeeeee!

Swing 7Van Worst Park is such a simple pleasure. When we moved to Jersey City, we couldn’t quite justify living on the water, so we paid attention to a Realtor who told us that if we can’t get the water in JC, we should be happy with a park. It’s a solid park. But it turned into something special earlier this afternoon.

The weather was nice. We were headed into winter and the fact that it was nice outside (meaning we could go outside without fearing you’d hate us for a few hours after the fact) meant that we had to go outside. You’re an outdoor baby. It calms you. I feel like your happiness is directly correlated to the number of leaves you see around you — maybe with a bit of sunshine factored in.

Swing 5

Swing 6It’s always been that way, though. From the moment we could take you outside, if we did, you were happier. Taking it all in. Looking around you. Observing. Reaching. The first thing I ever saw you reach for was a leaf. And you went for it. Like you do everything. You saw. You committed. And you went for it.

The park on this beautiful late Fall day was no different. We strolled. You did some slide work. Pulled yourself up to a lovely outdoor abacus. And life was grand. But nothing compared to you on that swing. It was freedom. You were seated. And you were experiencing. No fear. No matter how excited I got and how hard I pushed. You smiled on your way to us and on your way back. Sheer happiness.

I’d like to get a swing installed in every room in our condo. What do you think? My guess if you could respond? Weeeeeeeeeeeeee! Which totally explains my love for you today, munchkin. It was as exhilarating to watch you on that swing as it has been for me to take loops at Great Adventure.

 

Swing 4. jpeg

Swing 3

Swing 2

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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… | Conversational

From the moment you were born, I knew you had something to share with the world. Silly me for thinking you’d wait until you had some words to piece together before attempting to do so first.

I am an absolute sucker for baby talk. I get it from my Mom. Nobody in my house (except for my Dad, your Dadaji) talks to my mom in a normal voice full-time. There’s always a softening of the voice because that’s what she does to people.

What I find interesting is that the second we talk to you in a baby voice you decide not to participate. But when adults are having a normal conversation, you want nothing more than to be a part of it.

Why? Because you’re a genius and because you have something supremely valuable to add to the conversation. We now know better. So today my love for you is all about the conversation. Looking forward to anything and everything you have to share, for the rest of my life.

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My $.02 | IMHO | Moms

I’m a Dad. Which is fantastic. But as amazing as that is, I’m not and never will be a Mom. Which is humbling. Mom’s are cut from a different cloth. Which is why the best thing we can do is surround ourselves with them. As our own. As grandmothers. As aunts. As siblings. As friends. As … my wife. I’m blessed and amazed to have been raised by someone so amazing and now, to find myself standing next to someone equally brilliant.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mumma. I am and would be nothing without you. My compassionate and loving sister and I are and would be nothing without you.

Happy Mother’s Day too, Mom. You make a word I never thought I could associate to someone else, roll off the tongue.

Happy Mother’s Day to my Ba’s (gone too soon), my Masi, my Fai, my Mamis, my Kakis. And Happy Mother’s Day to my friends’ moms who represent the village that raised me. Happy Mother’s Day to my sisters, through blood and (or) through my own sheer luck. Happy Mother’s Day to all of my amazing friends who have served as role models leading up to 1/12/2014 and now, beyond.

And Happy First Mother’s Day to the love of my life, my wife. I’ve always been awed by you. And the past few months have only proven that I’ve had every reason to be. Happy Mother’s Day. Happy, Happy, Happy Mother’s Day.

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PDA | Anaiya | Happy First Mother’s Day!

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(Photo by Shannon Christopher in Savannah, GA. Hire him if you’re down there.)

Hi Mumma,

I’m growing up fast aren’t I. I’m saying that here, to you, because I know if we even imply it around Daddy he’ll get teary eyed and cry (by the way, can we work on that?) It’s my last day as a three month old. Can you believe it?

It’s also your first Mother’s Day. It’s better if we make this post about you.

I know you can believe how fast I’m growing because you spend every day with me. I’ve been around for almost four months, and you’ve been around every single day since — but the truth is, you’ve been a Mom for much longer. There’s no denying it actually because it’s all documented in the book I wrote you on your birthday.

When I first wrote that I was still figuring things out, but the world makes more sense to me now. You. My Mommy, make more sense to me now. And watching you in action is the reason why I feel the most comfortable around you and in your arms. Sure, I love everyone I meet! We proved that in Savannah didn’t we? It’s hard for me not to like people when even random passersby say things like “she’s the absolute cutest” or “look at how happy she is.” But there i s nobody in the world like my Mommy.

I love when people look at me and comment on how happy I am. I wish I could get into the conversation with them (lord knows I’m trying) and tell them why!

It’s because of you. How you take care of me. How you play with me. How you feed me. How you put your whole world aside for me. How you take me out. How you help me see the world. How you take me to music class. How you play peek-a-boo by using the soles of my feet to cover your eyes. All of those things make me so happy, Mommy.

How could I not be happy? You sing Pharrell’s “Happy” to me at every waking moment. As an aside, I hope when I grow up, I’ll be able to sing like you. If not, I’ll be equally happy sitting back and watching you sing, just like Daddy does. And I’ll smile with him when you forget the words or just make up your own.

You’re a Mommy. You’re my Mommy. You’re the best Mommy I could have hoped for. And even though I’m only (almost) four months old, I want you to remember the most important thing ever. When I’m teething. When you’re sleep training me. When I’m just cranky because I’m a baby and I’m allowed to be. When I’m being stubborn and not letting you finish feeding me.

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I want you to remember that every single time I smile, it’s because you put me in position to. You made it all possible in the first place, and now you make it all possible every single day.

Smile with me, Mommy. You’ve earned it. Happy Mommy’s Day!

Love,

Your Munchkin

2014-05-03 19.15.59

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TMLFYI… | Rolling

Like camera rolling. Every day your mom finds time to send me pictures of you in action while I’m at work. I’m fairly uninterested in responding to my phone (texts, calls.) But there are few things that can get me to respond to a phone cue better than the incentive of knowing I’ll have a stream of photos of you to look at.

Today I wasn’t disappointed. You’re active. You’re moving. You’re alert. You’re engaging. We’re seeing your personality come through more and more everyday. I wish I could turn this into a flipbook and have it play on repeat in the upper right-hand corner of my screen. Just under the clock, so I could look at you and then know just how long it would be before I’d get back to you.

Roll 1Roll 3Roll 5Roll 4Roll 6 Roll 2

 

Amazing.

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