Tag Archives: parents

DADDY | JUST MONDAY or UNVARNISHED TRUTH

I’m good. I’m truly honestly and undeniably good. But, I wanted to share this because I think it’s the kind of thing that…more folks just need to know, or read, or share. Just because…good doesn’t mean purely good, there’s always an underlying truth. 🙂

Four times. Today. On four distinct, unique, unrelated moments, I’ve had tears stream down my face. Not a tear. Not a couple of tears. Not the kind of tears that are wiped away with the back of one hand swiftly, or hell, even slowly.

DAD | 5-21

Nope. Streams. The kind that form patterns on your face. Where one tear blazes a trail for others to then follow. Drops turn into flow, and it’s the kind of flow so smooth and so steady that even the greatest Nuyoricans would step back and hand you the mic.

That’s my face. But my face and my tearducts are a mere preview, a trailer. of the thoughts and memories. I’m rocking your polo right now. I got angry when something wasn’t in its right place earlier today. I got angry because it wasn’t. I then got mad at myself for being you. I then got sad because there was no (practical or physical) you. I ate eggplant and mushrooms almost as a rejection of your palate.

I struggled at work, really hard today, because I felt like there were objective truths that weren’t being acknowledged. And I found myself having a handful of very productive, unvarnished and fully honest conversations with people that were representative of your spirit (it’s not about me, it’s not about the idea, it’s about your contribution to the bigger, collective idea, that’s what will make the world move forward.)

And then…mom…your wife. 45 minutes between wrapping up dinner with Anu Kiran and Drinda Kay and closing her iPad and heading up to bed with your granddaughter (who still misses you so publicly and so potently), posted this pic.

And it’s just Monday.

And this photo, just says it all.

And you know, it all just sucks.

But we’ll also, just keep moving forward.

That’s, just life.

And I’m good. Just, good. I’m good.

#iamgrateful and #iamthankful for this polo. I’m going to sleep in it tonight.

Just…because.

I miss you and I love you, and … we’ll keep just doing our best to honor you.

PS – Make that five times. Once while writing this.

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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TMLFYI… | Footloose

We’ve been blessed, my love. We’ve had the fantastic fortune of catching you at two very unique and powerful firsts: the first time you laughed out loud, and the first time we caught you discovering your feet. Not noticing they exist. But actually playing with them. Exploring them. Discovery in the purest sense of the word.

I’m not sure who was more mesmerized by the experience. You? The finder of said feet. Or your mom and I, creators of you, who I now consider the Jane Goodall of feet. See video for evidence.

Some highlights?

  • :05 – When you get after your foot with both hands.
  • :13 – When we make eye contact – because that’s always a highlight and always will be.
  • :27 – When your mom calls out the fact that you’re going to put your foot in your mouth.
  • :45 – When prove your mom to be prophetic and try to put your foot in your mouth.
  • :53 – When you discover you have a second foot.

So today my love for you is all about feet. Maybe I’ll never say that again? But my guess is that with you, all rules go out the window.

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TMLFYI… | Rollin’

FINALLY! You started rolling so fast (5 weeks) we weren’t prepared. The first time you rolled over we actually didn’t believe it. So we put you back on some tummy time and wouldn’t you know it? You rolled again. I don’t care if you are ahead of the curve, on the curve, or behind the curve. In my eyes, you’ll be loved for being you, whoever you turn out to be and wherever that takes you. (There will be some expectations about the kind of person you are and the kind of effort you put in, but we don’t need to talk about that now. You also have it documented here for posterity so if I ever change, you can call me on it. Lucky. You.)

Ever since those back-to-back rolls we’ve been trying to capture your roll over in motion. We’ve come close. Sometimes my phone failed me. Sometimes my reflexes fail me. And sometimes you pump fake, back and forth on that roll so often that timing you on the turn is next to impossible.

The beauty of taking you to Savannah, little did we know, was that not only would the pace around us slow, so would your roll. (Slow your roll, girl!) I stood by your side with camera ready because I saw the roll coming. Like a vision. So I stood, camera pointed, and ready.

The results were beautiful, and as always, ended with your smile. I’m happy I caught this now because soon we’re going to focus on watching you turn the other way.

So today my love for you is on the rolliest of rolls. Keep on rollin’.

Roll 1

Roll 2

Roll 3

Roll 4

Roll 5

Roll 6

 

Heck of a finish, wonderful. Heck of a finish.

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TMLFYI… | Trial and Error (and Success)

“She’s got to be hungry.”

“But she just ate 45 minutes ago.”

“Maybe she’s gassy?”

“We gave her those probiotics. I held her up for 40 minutes. And she was all burped out.”

“Did she poop?”

“Yeah. And she’s all clean. I checked.”

“We should try swaddling her with her arms in.”

“They were in. And then she jailbroke.”

“Maybe she’s hungry.”

“You already said that.”

Anyone who has a newborn has had exactly that kind of conversation with their spouse, parents, nanny, experienced friends. You instantly turn into Henry and Liza trying to figure out where the hole in this d*mn bucket came from in the first place. All the while, your baby is crying (wailing) in the background.

Anaiya Doped Up on Milk!I’m a marketer by trade. I tend to think I’m a pretty good one, but maybe that’s just because I’ve done such a good job marketing myself to myself. We’ll leave that alone as it becomes an infinite loop. Marketing is a fairly broad discipline but one of its foundational principles is the idea of test and learn. I will probably write a post on this separately so I’ll spare the details here, but the bottom line is that the only way you get to the right answer in Marketing is to test your ideas live with your audience, and commit to learning from them. No amount of analysis up front will bring you all the way to your answer. The right answer.

Munchkin, you put my test and learn skills to the test. Some people tell me you’re supposed to have different cries. It’s been 3.5 weeks and I agree, you do have different cries. Heartbreaking. Gut-wrenching. And awe-inspiring. Three very different cries, but they don’t help me a lick.

What has happened over the past few weeks is a few things that I believe change our lives forever.

First and foremost, I believe that I now have in my power, the ability to stop you from crying. Somehow. Some way, I can make things better just about all of the time. If I don’t get frustrated. If I don’t give up. If I don’t get lazy. If I don’t let tired dominate. I can find a way to make you feel better. That’s a beautiful feeling. Because you are both my responsibility and my concern. Knowing I am getting better at fulfilling one and alleviating the other makes me feel better about the father I can be to you forever.

Next, comes the approach for solving your crying. I can sometimes feel myself making it about me wanting you to stop crying. Those are the times I fail you. My body tenses. I am not holding you as softly. You feel my energy and are thrown off. If I allow myself to get overwhelmed in trying to make you stop crying for me, I can expect you to continue crying in spite of me. Instead what I need to do is pay close attention. Life is better when I make the answers about you. Isn’t that what parenting is about?

Even at 3.5 weeks my munchkin, you are extraordinarily expressive. I can tell so much about how you’re feeling by how much I pay attention to how you respond to all of the little things. To being cradled or being placed on your back. To being in a swing or in the MamaRoo. To being swaddled (hands in or out) or being left to roam free. To being stroked from your bottom up, or from your shoulders down (and being stroked with the whole hand or just the palm of the hand.) To having your head near my heart or having your heart near my heart. To hearing a babbling brook or standard white noise.

Anaiya Mom LapWhat I have learned is that as a father, it is my job to listen to what you tell me and pay attention to what you don’t tell me. But no matter what I do, I have to make it about you. About all of you. It’s not enough to be wrapped around your fingers, because that means I can’t hear or see what the rest of you is telling me. What a realization the past few days! And there’s nothing more inspiring than finding a way to put you at ease. To stop you from crying. To get you doped up on milk to a point that you’re limp and wiped out. To get you to sleep for a few consecutive hours at a time. All of these nuances change frequently, with the things that worked yesterday not quite working today. You’re teaching me already how to stay on my toes and pay attention to you. Not because you’re demanding. Not because you’re spoiled (if anyone says or thinks that ever, let them feel my wrath.) Simply because you are my daughter. And that is my job.

Finally comes recognition of something I have noticed more and more since your birth: I will not have all the answers. Many timesyou’re just better off in your mom’s hands (who isn’t?) Some times we need to let you soothe yourself (we haven’t quite gotten there yet, but we know we have to soon.) Some times you don’t want anything specifically, you just want to be held. My job is to try when there is an answer, and let you know I love you and am there for you when we can’t find one. That will never change.

I promise to always do that for you, my lovely. Today my love for you manifests itself via trial and error (and god willing, success.)

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TMLFYI… | Simply Not Enough

(Note: This covers January 14th, our first night home from the hospital. In some ways, my least favorite day. Ever.)

D*mn. You’ve got some pipes. And it’s our fault you had to use them as loudly, often, and consistently as you did. We simply didn’t know any better.

We tried changing you. We tried feeding you. We tried burping you. We tried swaddling you. We tried everything parents of two days could try. And nothing worked. Your screaming got louder. On and off. You were exhausted. And every time you wailed our hearts shattered into a million more pieces. There is no sound like your cries. Nothing could have prepared us for it. And nothing will ever make me forget it. Consider me well trained to avoid your tears ever again.

It was this very night I realized that loving you to the end of the world, to the end of time, will sometimes not be enough. I also realized that feeling the kind of love we feel for you can be crippling and debilitating. I have never felt so hopeless. I have actually never been so worthless. Your Ba-ji, your Naniji, your Dadaji, your mom — they were all extraordinary in action. Your Ba-ji and Naniji are the only reason we made it through the night. I feel like they are the only reason you made it through the night. An interesting study in contrasts. Where mine was love inaction, there’s was love in action. Troubleshooting. Collaborating. Trialing, erroring, and trialing again. From 10pm to 8am the next morning they operated at a furious pace. Forcing me to rest. Standing beside your mom and magnifying her existing strength. Holding you in their hands every step of the way (even if they weren’t actually holding you in their hands at certain points in time.)

I witnessed something powerful and amazing that night, in the shadow of my own limitations as a father. My angel has angels. Specifically, two guardian angels in your Ba-ji and Naniji, and you couldn’t be more blessed. Because sometimes the love of your parents may not be enough. And in those times, you’re blessed to know that you have a love that’s even more unique and tireless — the love of your grandparents.

Yes, lovely. On this day, my love for you was simply not enough. Instead, I learned by watching your grandparents display one of the greatest performances of my lifetime, leaving me humbled and inspired to pursue my apprenticeship in parenthood under them.

(Knowing full well that if I screw up in the slightest I’ll have them to answer to.)

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