Tag Archives: parenting

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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PDA | Butting Up Against the Limitations of Language or Thank You, My Children

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I’ve been trying to write this post for 3 weeks. I’ve tried many different hooks and patterns. I’ve tried to be simple. I’ve tried to be poetic. i’ve tried analogies. I’ve tried to be detailed. Yet every time I got about 350 words deep, I’ve leaned my head back away from my laptop, frowned, selected all of the text in the editor, and hit “delete”.

Nothing I can write does my feelings and my appreciation for you, justice. Nothing.

I have no words. There are no words. Language is limiting. As I understand it, there are over 1,000,000 total words in the English language, over 170,000 in current use, and on average, a person uses 30,000 of them.As I told your Mama when I proposed to her: “even 1,000 poets, writing 1,000 words a day, for 1,000 years can’t capture what moved me to propose to her”.

Now; for the second time in my life, I find myself verbally helpless; trying to find a way to bridge how I feel with the few words available and the even fewer words I know.

I don’t know how to capture what I’m feeling in words; in a way that you will read them at some point in your future and understand the weight of the feeling and the sentiments behind them.

But what I know, is that it won’t be for a lack of trying.

Anaiya. Jaanu. Buhboo.

For all of my worth as a human being: thank you.

There will come a day in your future; maybe a few, where you’ll wonder if you are up to the task. If you can pass some obstacle in front of you. If you can conquer some challenge. If you can go some Seussian places you want to go.

You will wonder. You will pause. You will hesitate. You will question.

And when you do, I want you to read this. And then, I want you to call me. On the phone. Over whatever device is in vogue when that challenge presents itself. And when I’m past my life while you’re still living yours, close your eyes and picture me. Reading this to you.

There is absolutely nothing you can’t do. Because at age 6 and age 3, you took the greatest punch the world has seen in over 100 years. You took something that crippled towns, cities, states, countries. You took a haymaker that brought humankind to its knees. In days. To our collective knees.

You took that. And you brushed it off your shoulder in a way that would make Aaliyah, Jay-Z, Barack Obama proud. You wiped a drop off blood of your lip in a way that would make Bruce Lee, and every Saturday afternoon Kung Fu theater hero (as well as your Dada Fua) proud. 

There has been so much discussion about the lockdown the world has experienced post COVID-19. Coronavirus. Corona – why us? There’s been some discussion about how resilient and adaptable human beings are. How if you had told us 3 months ago the way we’d be forced to live now, we’d never have been able to imagine it; and we certainly would have denied it would be possible .But when it happened, we adapted, and here we are.

Yes. Adaptable. Resilient.

But none of us are doing this adaptable thing, this resilient thing, with your grace.

And that is precisely where I lose all ability to express myself.

I want to tell you how one night you went to bed, ready for the next day. Your ordinary next day. An Alexa alarm. Breakfast and drop-offs. School and play time. Somewhere between 9 and 10 hours, a super majority of your life, for a super majority of your days each week, you were immersed in a world that we got glimpses of when we opened your backpacks, checked logs and updates from your teachers, hears mentions of when you had the time, energy and interest.

One night you went to bed, ready to do all the things we told you that you had to do. When we dropped you off at daycare. When we celebrated your first day of school  Make friends. Play nice. Listen to your teachers. Eat your meals. Be strong when you’re being bullied. Find strength when we aren’t there and when you feel like nobody else is, however fleeting. Do all these things because they are the most important things for you to learn now.

One night you went to bed knowing the next day was going to be filled with all those things.

And when Alexa woke you up that next day, we told you that wasn’t happening anymore. We told you that schedule, that way, wasn’t going to be the way. For a while.

If that had happened to me, I’d have needed a lifetime to plan, and a lifetime to prepare, and a lifetime to adjust; and I’d go through the motions and I’d do what I’m supposed to do.

But I don’t think, ever in my life, that I have operated with your grace. How can someone be so strong, so unwavering, so staunchly making progress, while doing so in a way that seems so effortless, so natural. You see, when I look at you, I don’t remember the way our life was 5 weeks ago. Because when I look at you, and observe you act, and watch you interact — I am only convinced that the way we’re living now is the only and obvious way we have been living all along.

When I look at my calendar. When I talk to people at work. When I read the news. Tonight is Sunday. Week 5 of quarantine. Poised for an even longer and more isolated road ahead. Into a new normal. Never returning to the way life was before. And it can be overwhelming.

When I look at you, though.

It’s Sunday.

What are we doing today, Buhboo?

Thanks for grading our worksheets, Buhboo!

Yay, we get to watch a movie, Buhboo!

I didn’t like my dinner, Buhboo, but I’ll eat it for you, Buhboo!

When I’m with you, it’s Sunday. It’s just Sunday for you.

And you’ve found a way to make it “just Sunday” for me too.

You can’t see your friends. Except, maybe from across the street. You can’t hug your Nana, Nani, Dadi, Tito Foi. Your Mamu is living with us, upstairs, in the guest bedroom and the best you can do is let him know when you’re downstairs so he can step out to get the tray of food we’ve left outside his door.

You can’t go to the park. You can’t go for ice cream. You can’t go to Charlie Brown’s (yeah, by the way, we need to talk about how for most of your childhood your favorite restaurant was a terrible chain restaurant that indicates you share a palate and a thirst for ambience with people born in the 1940s).

You can’t go to school. You can’t go to Tae Kwon Do. You can’t go to Dance Class. You can’t go to Bagels 4 U. You can’t go to Genus Boni. You can’t go to Shop Rite and you definitely can’t get the free cheese handouts there and at Whole Foods. You can’t … do … everything that brought you joy.

Yet you’re still, full of joy.

You are. Absolutely full of joy. It is because of you, I wake up with a bounce in my step excited about what we’re going to do today. Because of how you ask your questions, I focus on what we can and will do today; not what we can’t or can no longer.

“Buhboo, what’s our plan for tomorrow?”

What an absolutely beautiful question; Warren Berger would adore it. “What is our plan for tomorrow” is more intrinsically hopeful than “What are all the things we can’t do tomorrow that we could have done 5 weeks ago?”

It’s been 5 weeks, and you’re still asking beautiful questions.

You’re making me see the beautiful.

Your laughs fill our house. Your cries do too; but if we were to put them on scales, there would be no contest in terms of which direction we’re tipping.

I’m also watching you grow.

Anaiya: Yoga. Dance. Math. Reading. Mentoring. Eating. Breathing. Guiding. Defiance (I mean, you absolutely hate to lose at a level that would make Michael Jordan proud.) Love. The way you clutch my arm, at bedtime, at wakey time, and at so many times in-between, and hold it like it’s the last arm you’ll get to hold and hug on earth. I can’t help but feel that some of that has nothing to do with me, actually; you’re holding my arm so tightly because it’s the one place where all that’s been taken away from you is manifesting. And riding your bike with no training wheels. Yeah, that happened.

Jaanu: Dance. Gibberish. Letters. Tracing. Troubleshooting. Putting away dishes. Cleaning. Defiance (I mean, you absolutely hate being told what to do.) The way you proclaim to every person who’s ready to hear you that they are “the greatest in the history” is tagline and catchphrase I hope you never lose. I can’t help but feel that you’re expressing that as a way of defining a new baseline for history, and helping people find positivity and feel special in this altogether new way of being.

I’m words, sentences, paragraphs in; and as you can see, I’ve written so much, and I’ve said so little that captures how proud I am of you. How honored I am to be your Dad, your Buhboo.

1,000 poets. 1,000 words a day. 1,000 years.

Even when, as a family, we experience the most extraordinary of losses, you find a way to bring love, to comfort, to hug and support — videos weren’t designed to have this kind of impact and sincerity. You have managed to make video feel human and intimate.

Consolation is something you give to people. After loss. After disappointment. Right now, as I read what people write and say and share; I feel an excessive amount of consolation. I see a world full of people acknowledging loss and disappointment and sadness; and from that, trying to force a rose to bloom from concrete.

Consolation is what I see and hear in every interaction.

Except the ones I have with you.

With you, it’s “just Sunday”.

With you, it’s “what IS our plan?”

With you, it’s not resilience. Or adaptability. Or perseverance.

With you, it’s not about the new normal.

With you, it’s just what’s next. Your ability to make everything that is, seem natural; and to make what’s next, seem possible. Is what makes me, so uncontrollably humbled and so infinitely proud, and so eternally enamored.

Thank you.

So when that hill, or that mountain, or that sea, or that valley, shows up in your way. I want you to call me. On your phone. On your <<unnamed device>>. On your memory.

And I want you to hear me. Loudly. Clearly.

The world handed you the worst the world has handed anyone. And you flicked, brushed, dusted, and resumed.

Thank you, my children. Thank you, my kids. Your Mama and I wish the rest of the universe had you to wake up to, you to bring tomorrow’s schedule to, you … to look forward to.

Because then, they’d all be as happy, as proud, as hopeful, as we are.

(And just as speechless.)

How much do I love you? More than anything.
How long will I love you? More than forever.
When will I stop? Never.

Ever.

 

 

 

 

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MY $.02 | The Chicken and the Egg of Priorities and Choices

I run a couple of small businesses right now. I also advise two others. Much of my time is spent helping the people I work with identify priorities.

What should they be focused on? What is their priority?

It is the priority that dictates the choices we make. More often than not we’re in position to make choices based on our priorities. I’ve worked with people who cherished such constraints. So much so that they would create them artificially (I believe creating artificial constraints is an incredibly powerful force, depending on the constraints you dictate of course). I have my own philosophy on creating constraints that I’ll write about at some point — as time permits.

If we focus on the priority we can be motivated in good times (or when there is no other choice). We can also be demotivated because of the constraint that we’ve committed so much time to; that may not be working out as well as we had planned.

There is always then a discussion about whether or not we have the right priority. That’s an easy discussion. Because often times, it’s easy to change. Simply adjust the priority and you either have new goals that are more attainable or, you at the very least, have no priorities that can be invigorating purely because … they are new.

These are easy discussions at work. At home, they are sometimes not so easy. The choices we make are more permanent. Which is why I think it’s most important to realize that before the priority, came a choice.

Instead of the priority dictating the choice in our personal lives we must never forget that it is our choices that dictate our priorities. To go to college (and beyond). Where we live. What career we choose to pursue (and what environments we choose to work within). Who we marry. And perhaps penultimately, whether we choose to have kids.

Each one of those choices dictates another set of priorities. And along the way, each one of those decisions elevates a set of priorities and clarifies a future set of choices.

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Of all the choices, the most unique one is the decision to have kids. Whereas all other choices are ones that are designed to make you better, to advance your self — I’ve often told the people I love, the people I work with, the (few and far between) people who (stumble into) asking me questions about life — I’ve often told these people that the two most selfish decisions you make in your life should be (1) the career you choose (and as a subset, the jobs you take and the people you choose to work for) and (2) the person you choose to spend the rest of your life with.

Those are the two most selfish decisions one can make. And if made selfishly, they end up being the most valuable decisions and personally advancing decisions you can make.

KIDS--An--HalloweenKids, however, are something else. They become the most selfless decision you can make You have to embrace and realize that more than anything else, all decisions from the moment of conception or birth forward, are made with their life, their livelihood, their success, as the top priority.

I often hear parents talk about life with kids as a limitation and restriction on

KIDS--Jaanu--Halloweenchoices. I don’t feel that way. I never have. And after this past year and this past few weeks as time to reflect around the annual approach of important Indian and US holidays — I realize kids aren’t restricting.

They were my choice. They were more honestly our choice. Our BEST choice.

And they will always be, as a result, our top priority going forward. Ourselves, dutifully, practically, deliberately, in service.

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TMLFYI… | Awesome

IMAG0377Less in the amazing and extraordinary connotation, and more in the humbling vein. The past few weeks have seen you in the hospital for your 6 month shots and for a mysterious scrape on your head that just appeared — we’ve gone from calling it massive head trauma, to a flesh wound, to a scratch, to a light scrape. But it existed. And you could feel it. And that’s what matters.

But watching you on the hospital bed, sometimes ignorant to what was about to happen, sometimes immediately reacting to what had just happened, and just as quickly. forgetful of all that pain, was awesome.IMAG0376 Because these pains are just the beginning. More bumps and bruises. More heartaches. More pain — physical, emotional, or otherwise.

To think of how unbearable these two circumstances were for us already, makes thinking about how we’re going to raise you and be there for you in future situations (note: in ALL future situations) awesome. In the words of Billy Ocean, simply awesome. (Pay attention at the :12 mark, and ignore everything else in the song.)

 

 

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TMLFYI… | A Teardrop

ANAIYA--TearAbsolute silliness, the world will tell me. But it works for me. It’s obviously not sustainable nor is it remotely realistic. I’ve actually already failed.

But I’ve committed to myself that when I’m around you and you cry, I will drink your tears. By holding you in my arms, by squeezing you like nothing else in the world matters, and by slurping whatever teardrops are rolling down your cheeks with an insatiability I wish I could direct to all aspects of my life.

“Daddy drinks your tears.”

So today my love for you is a teardrop. It has worked so far. And I’m willing to do it for as long as it works, and I’m willing to try it for the rest of your life if there’s a chance it will work ever again.

That’s fatherhood, I guess. From where I stand right now, that’s an example of fatherhood.

I love you, munchkin.

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TMLFYI… | Reach

Anaiya--ReachDoes this qualify as the greatest thing that has ever happened to me in my life? If not, it’s close. It’s darn close.

Your amazing Mom, as usual, woke up this morning with you and took care of you while Daddy shook off the lingering effects of a night out with some friends. I pushed my wake up from 6:45 to 7:45 and the extra hour was necessary.

I came down refreshed and ready to head out to work, but then things got interesting. You were on your playmat, your once favorite playmat now turned least favorite place to be playmat, so your fussiness (I say fussiness by your standards recognizing that for any other being in the world, it would qualify as mild, borderline unnoticeable, discomfort) was expected. But what happened after changes how I will se the world for the rest of my life.

You reached out for me.

You were uncomfortable on the mat. Your mom picked you up. And you stayed a little uncomfortable.

Then you looked at me and you reached your hand out to me. You wanted Daddy. I took you, and you stopped fussing. You were happy. I was over the moon. And your mom was gracious — because she does all the work and yet somehow, you still wanted me.

It’s a beautiful moment. When I handed you back to Mom so I could head off to work you looked back at me and reached out. Again. Which is the shot I caught on camera here. The original moment is captured in a more permanent and easy-to-reference place: my heart. For the rest of time.

Today my love for you is best defined by reach. I’ll never forget your face when you started, and your calm when I held you. The most perfect of father-daughter moments, and the first of many to come I’m sure. 

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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

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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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