How is it possible
For you to just this way
So much that I can't feel my leg
Or my back
You own my body
And I paid a lot for it
I wish I could find all of the words
In all of the world
To tell you just how it felt
To feel bubbles the size of buses being popped on your head
To hear the sea lions bark with my ear hugging yours
To feel our hair most from our own see and the ocean below
Stuck to our faces and the backs of our necks
I'm really struggling to find the words
So I guess these will just have to do
I can't feel my feet anymore
I've been standing with my feet dig in for so long
It's hard and sticky, this ground
I wish it were the golden sand
Being drowned by relentless yet gentle waves
This is quicksand
This is tar
This is a mess
And I'm stuck
I learn to give birth to such beauty
Whenever I open up to the unknown
Like bringing a being into life
And out into the world
Through a mere opening of what is used to being shut tight
And so much beauty can come
Feeling opening doors that have always been closed
Today you were on your own
No mamma or daddy
mamma was off talking to communities
And Daddy off teaching geometry
I know it's new
And I know you're being brave
And maybe you even wondered
Where we were
Right here. Always with you,
I can still see it
When you stood so bold
And moved with your new found courage
The world had nothing on you
The world has nothing on you
But it'll sure try
It'll try to bring you down
To its deepest most rocky core
Its deepest most rocky core
Will on its best days
Threaten to swallow you whole
Maybe even stifle the air out of you
The air out of you may try to leave
But you run after it, grab it, and swallow it whole
Just like life itself, just like your first little run
On your two little legs
You know how my happiest of places is
Somewhere I go with my eyes closed?
Floating in water so clear
I can count the number of stripes on that fish
The air smells wet
It tastes so sweet
I want to let it swallow me whole
But I don't
There won't be me anymore
To make this place my half
Such a small thing
We learn to avoid it
Pretend like it doesn't mean much
Revere it, hell, even crave it
We learn to share it
And struggle to find it
But never have I appreciated it more than
Watching you learn to do it
What is it about you men
That you can't share?
You can't handle divided attention
Even though you've got your balls on you
Your incapable of producing much
Does that piss you off?
Make you want to show me who's boss?
You're the one tied up though
As I walk free
Roots, shoots, twigs, and leaves
I am each and every one of these
And really, have I even lived unless I know
What it feels like to have had them broken?
To have had them plucked from me like the very insides of me are being chosen specifically to be
It took me a better part of three decades to learn
That I'm also trunk, branch, bark, and weeds
I can birth new saplings from the hardened skin I grow
And shed what is diseased and what must go
I am planted, grounded, and I've learned to pick up and leave
I know how to change colors if I'm put in that position
I know how to soak up the rain, I know how to brave a famine
I can grow in the wettest crevices and the most hostile of sand
And I know how to spread love without being asked, I know how to change as seasons demand
I reserve the right to choose to wilt
I am entitled to house every bird and the nest they've built
So what if I'm the y of the x?
So what if I don't know what's next?
So what if I have to uproot to become free?
So what if all my branches don't understand me?
Yes, I will break and wilt and wither
After all, I am twigs, branches, and weeds
I am shoots, trunk, and bark
But I will also begin again,
And I know how to restart -
Because, you see,
I'm also seeds.
It's the little things
That's how I show I care
I'm rarely on time
But I'll show up in the middle of the darkest night
I can't always keep all parts moving at once
But I'll pick up your pieces with you
I show care, love, and respect in different ways
And sometimes I just buy you ice cream
That's the thing about this life
This is all we get
This is all we get to build and be in
This is all we get to spoil and ruin
Which poisons will you choose
Which rock bottoms will pick you
How often will you burn
How will you know which way to turn
Their answers may not be clear
These questions may never become yours
Either way, it's really upto you
What you do with this
That's this life
Shhhh, I tell them
Actually, I try to shout over them
But how can someone hear you
When all their job is to talk
And not listen
That's why they're called voices, not ears
The problem is though that those voices are right here
They're my voices
Mamma bird flies off
And if I were completely honest
I thought very much about
That terrible Black Mirror episode
In which that mother can see everything her daughter is doing
What did you see?
What did you think?
When did you notice we weren't there?
How did you feel?
My heart wept and soared
Because I've never not known what you're doing
And I've never done my own thing
Not like today
And it was hard
Very very hard
You can wear what you want to
As long as we know which box to stuff you into
You can speak as you wish
As long as you sound like us
You can eat what you like
As long as we know what it is
You can be who you want to be
Or so they tell me
I really wish I could believe them
I want to tell you all about this struggle
Deep in my chest
Where my insides are all twisted
And this knot is so tight
From being pulled
By by head on the one end
And my heart on the other
Which will win, I'm uncertain
What if though, neither do
And I'm left with nothing but
Little fragments of what used to be
Just one day
I want to look in the mirror
And hear something kind
Kind and giving
Without questions and hinged consequences
Kind, like a plumeria bud
That gives without needing a lot
Maybe, one of these days
I'll allow myself that sweet pleasure
Of something kind
I walked in and I smelled you right away-
You smell nice
You smell of hot running water
I take for granted
You smell of smoke-free air
That's loving to my lungs
You smell of familiarity
Sounds, people, family
You smell of clean accessible toilets
With automatic flushes and faucets
You smell of memories
Sweet and troublesome, and importantly, mine
You smell of spaces so green, my eyes hurt
Where I don't have to pre-check the grass for cigarette butts
And you smell of fear
Fear so wretched
It's keeping me up at night
Regardless of this regardless jet lag
You smell of broken hopes and families
Of colonial promises kept
Of screams of little voices stuck in my inner ear for these timely nights when sleep hunts for nightmares
You smell of sweaty palms
At the border, even with my passport in my them
Trying to catch up with the news
With a world that takes babies away from their mammas
Stamps them with numbers, shrouds them in masks
Leaves them to be painted white-
Impeccable strokes of pearl, mascarpone, chantilly lace, and snowy cascades
Sweeping over holes left where old pictures hung
Holes where black and brown bodies dreamed everyday dreams, like wishing they're not a statistic
Holes from bullets leaving clear paths for our blood to leave us,
Denied the stories of our past
So you can be monochromatic
You smell of overripe torment
Of freshly brewing tyranny
And burnt tomorrows.
And I need some air.
An exciting Friday began this journey
Onwards we headed to southern lands
Only to barely make it
To our part two of three
A baby who won't sleep
Nurse, or eat
But charm those around him
Into forgiving him
Bassinet didn't work
But his smiles did
And so we landed in lovely Madrid
The baby area was a life-saver
With places to run, crawl, and change a poopy diaper
A quick lunch and on we went
To our final destination
Granada only welcomed 2 of 3 parts of our luggage
But Manzil had the time of his life
Riding without his baggage
It wasn't the last of his car rides without his seat
Pretty sure he thought it was a superb feat
Got to an apartment fully equipped
With a stroller, baby bath, high chair, and crib
Got settled in, and stepped out to get some food
Mercadona was ready and waiting
Filled with yummies so good
Chocolate croissants and lactose-free milk
Got us settled in delicious ways
Naps and a late night feast in Plaza Nuevo
We were in love again with late nights and long days
Though Manzil decided day was night, and night day
And so Mamma and he had late night feasts and played
This lasted an exhausting 4 nights
And then he got in shape just in time for Nani's arrival
Daddy headed to Seville and Ronda for a night
While Mummy, Manzil, and Nani saw many sights
Nothing like the Corpus Christi festivities right before
But so much fun stories, art, and local lore
A grand birthday celebration with churros y chocolate under Alhambra's waning sun
And just like that, Manzil turned one
Madrid, trains, parks, and buses were next
We said bye bye to Nani as she headed far from west
Mummy got a little bug, but nothing too rotten
We still got a car and explored caves and palaces long forgotten
Soon it was time to say goodbye
To our favorite walks, fountains, heladerias, cervezerias, panaderias, cafeterias, sangrias, and more
Granada, we will be back, so for now, hasta pronto
Daddy, or Addy as our miracle might say,
Is made of all snuggles on the rocking chair
Or baritone lalalaaas in the car
Addy is made of giggles at the dinner table
And long walks to the lake
Addy is made of flying in the air
And drumming in every surface
Addy is made of kissies and tight squeezes
And cold compresses during a fever
Addy is all of you,
And I'm so grateful for that
Right now, you are asleep on my chest. Your tummy is on mine and they're doing a tango of sorts as we figure out how to synchronize our breaths. There is so much, so so much, terrible in this world. But right now, in this moment, the world seems alright. Perfect, even.
Thank you for that gift.
I love you,
Your toddledom is going by too fast, even though we're only 6 days into it. Time truly is a function of distance and speed. Time seems to move much slower here in Granada. Like there's absolutely no hurry to let the feet of the clock's overtake you on the sidewalk. They call our walking pace "The American Sidewalk Rage". There's really no rush and really no need to justify when you want to have a cup of coffee or that second glass of sangria. Maybe it feels even slower because we're so far from home? I wonder what stories we'll remember from our time here to tell you, when you're older, of times when time stood still.
I hate puzzles
I hated that they don't come easy
And when they do
They have a spectacular way of making you feel stupid
I hate the act of feeling deceived by a random collection of cardboard pieces
Or numbers, or missing letters
They make me feel slow, stupid, and like I'm missing something
But there's something about solving them that I get
I understand, hell, I'm almost hooked to that feeling of things falling into place
Of the sound of that click
Or the perfection of a snug letter to bring a string of other letters to life
Most of all though,
I think I like that feeling
So falsely there
That makes me feel
Like I actually control something
The lines in your hands
Are small enough to hold a year's worth of stories
Some can be told quickly,
Though some may take longer
Each holds within it
All of the everything
Of the last 365 days
And my dear sweet baby,
I wouldn't have it any other way.
My Dear Manzil,
Here I am, attempting to breathe all of this in...the best way I know how.
I started writing this when you were 21 days old and I was still wrapping this up as you turned 273 days old and I finished writing this when you turned 9 months old. 9 months in and 9 months out! And here you are, a full 365 days old, today!
You are here. I wish I could slow down time and hold on to your day oneness and twoness and so on, but time, as you will learn (and you are so effectively reteaching me), only moves forward. Whether or not you're ready to move with it.
So as to not be left behind, your Mamma, is doing what she knows to do best to hold on to the ephemeral - write about it.
Before I write to you about how our lives have been magical and in the nicest way ever Upside Down (we'll watch Stranger Things together one day ; ), I want to write to you about how our world began to change exactly 12 months ago today.
On June 4th, your estimated date of arrival, I woke up with a sense of excitement. It was like any other day in the past week though. My body didn't feel that different than the day before. I woke up, got ready, and we were heading to the farmer's market because I was craving that cherry almond croissant! It was a cooler day and I wished I had had a jacket on me. The bakers were out of the croissant, but we wandered and found some yummy food nonetheless! We got home and rested, our usual afternoon routine. In the evening, I started noticing more-than-usual wetness. I waited and monitored, and then around 7:15pm decided to call the midwife line and to see what they had to say.
Throughout the day, Daddy and I were doing some big and small things we had been putting off - cleaning the patio, fixing these puppets, getting some final things ready before you arrived. Some were trivial, some significant. It should've been my signal that you were getting ready to come.
The midwives have always called back in an hour. Except that day. It was 8:30pm when I called back to reach someone again. They called back soon after and the on-call midwife said, "You sound worried, why don't you come in to triage and we'll take a look."
Nani had made cheeni-ka-paratha that night. It was what she ate the night I was born 30 years ago. We finished our dinner, put away the food in the fridge, and left home. I half-believed it was time, half-thought we would be back in our bed that night. We got to triage around 9:30pm and waited patiently for the midwife and nurses to run their tests. Turns out I was slightly more dilated, but really not much more effaced and though in pre-labor, not leaking any amniotic fluid. Cleared to go home!
Right before we were leaving, the midwife saw me scratching the soles of my feet. Dan and I looked at each other and thought to mention that though they had been monitoring my bile levels, I had definitely been more itchy in classic cholestasis fashion for the past few days. When she heard this, it became clear that she was more concerned. She explained to us the risk, though low, of still birth. We understood and waited to hear our options. I was not in active labor and didn't want to be induced. But, I was to term and keeping you in me any longer wouldn't have made a lot of difference. On the other hand, if it was cholestasis, the bile level results wouldn't come back for another few days, and the stakes were high, even if statistically the risk was low.
We were given a choice: be monitored at home or be monitored at the hospital. Either way, we were disqualified from the birthing center and we would need to be monitored. At around 11pm, we decided to stay in the hospital to have access to the best care possible. They swept my membranes and we all tried in vain to sleep. Over the next 12 hours, they continued to sweep my membranes to hasten labor. I started cramping on the night of June 4th and continued over the next 18 hours. Nani, Daddy, and I were all in the hospital room and none of us got much sleep. Mashi and Masha were on their way to the hospital too!
We were excited on the 5th! Having read many many books, watched many many videos, talked to many moms, and having taken classes on the labor process, I had a feeling your arrival was close. I was about 2 cms dilated throughout the day. But I was hopeful. Finally, after about 24 hours of close monitoring and receiving cervical ripening agents, I wasn't making that much progress, and we agreed to begin induction. They began me on a very slow drip of oxytocin. It was to mimic my own body's production. Nonetheless, it pushed my contractions, which had begun the day before, to a new level. They became more intense, but still spread apart. Daddy and Mashi took turns to walk with me on the hospital floor. By this time, we had seen a few rotations of nurses and had our favorites and ones we weren't too excited to see again! Mashi and Masha had brought doughnuts for the nurses, so as we walked around, we kept getting smiles and thanks from nurses. This was nice, but didn't ease my discomfort as I walked around with the monitor strapped on my shoulder and a pink and a blue strap around my belly. Every four minutes or so, we needed to stop and I had to hold onto Daddy/Mashi/the hand rail in the hallway of the delivery floor of the hospital. This continued for about 4 hours.
Later that night, my contractions picked up pace. Our doula told us later that when you get induced, it often feels like one long continuous contraction. Speaking of doula...
UCSD has a pretty spectacular volunteer doula program. Their rules are simple: when you get admitted, ask for a doula. Catch: they will only call in a doula when you are 5 cms dilated. It wasn't easy getting to this point, and our nurse, who had been watching me struggle through my contractions, called in a doula when I was still only about 3 cms dilated. Thank goodness she did that! At around 11:30pm, they upped my oxytocin dose and that's when my one long contraction began. I kept wondering what you must be feeling through it all. All of our childbirth classes, books, and sage advice from other moms helped me understand just why we have contractions. I have seen videos of balloons with ping-pong balls in them and watched lots of videos explaining the pain-fear-tension triangle. But none of it prepared me for the amazing and excruciating thing our bodies were going through. Mine - my muscle squeezing and releasing to evict you out of your home for nine months. Yours - moving about and getting into position to be squeezed out of a very small hole. That hole was getting bigger, and at the speed that it needed to. Our bodies were working together, but mine needed a little more help.
Sometime after midnight on the 6th, Daddy had been swaying with me, holding me, and squeezing my hips. Mashi and Masha were saying comforting things and taking turns to hold me. Nani was making sure I was staying hydrated. After trying to lie down, stand, walk (I didn't get far), squat, crouch, and sway, I asked the nurse if I could go sit in the shower. We weren't in the tub-room of the birthing center, but the labor and delivery room had an inflatable "shower chair". I sat on that and the hot water on my back helped a lot! Daddy, Mashi, Masha, and Nani took turns to sit with me. I don't know how long I was there for, but I remember Daddy telling me repeatedly that the doula was almost there.
At 1:15am, the doula walked in. Amanda! She was every bit as graceful, kind, supportive, and empowering (and then some) as I could have asked from a doula! Amanda didn't even set her bags down, she got right behind me in the shower (in that teeny-tiny space between then shower and the toilet!) and began applying pressure at all the right places. She assured me that I was doing my best and helped me breathe in all the most helpful ways. She got me moving on my feet, off my feet on the exercise ball, and held me up when I thought I was going to collapse. Most importantly, she gave Daddy and everyone else a much-needed break.
This went on for a few more hours. There was no "coming-and-going" of contractions; no spacing between them. They were an "it". One long, endless, excruciating, pelvis-killing experience. I vomited a few times, cried a lot, and tried to meditate a lot. We had my favorite candle, my favorite stuffy, my singing bowl, my meditation audio uploaded on my phone, and of course, my favorite people, all with me. Daddy tried to make me laugh and it worked sometimes! There were many moments when I didn't think I could make it. After about 5 hours of this one long continuous contraction, when I thought someone was sawing my hips off, and I couldn't feel any other part of my body, our midwife came in and essentially told us that we had the bulk of the hard work (pushing) still ahead of us. I wasn't dilated enough and my water still hadn't broken. She offered me pain medication and I took it. It gave me two hours of rest. The medicine wore off around 6 and the contraction(s) came back soon after. At around 7:15am, after much deliberation and many many tears (and feelings of immense confusion - gratitude, confusion, failure, disappointment, fear, relief) from me, I got an epidural. The midwife asked who I wanted in the room with me when I got it, and I asked for Amanda. She held and helped me through some difficult contractions through it all!
After the epidural, I was super confused about why everyone was telling me to sleep. I couldn't eat much from that point on, and I had thrown up most of what I had eaten before that. But I drank a lot of juice and water to keep my fluids up. I continued to meditate and heard many snippets of many conversations between everyone as I drifted in and out of epidural-induced sleep. The nurses kept checking your heart rate through the fetal monitor and Nani kept double-checking their work to make sure you were doing okay! You had so many of us looking out for you through every heart beat. I had to get an extra dose of oxygen occasionally to make sure we were both okay. They continued to check how dilated I was, and at around 11:15am, I was still only 6 cms dilated. A new midwife's shift began and she informed us that we may be looking at many more hours (and even into the night) before you made an appearance. At around 11:18am, our wonderful nurse, Annie, was checking our monitors when we all heard a pop on the monitor. I told her I felt something pop in me, even though I wasn't supposed to be feeling anything thanks to the epidural. Sure enough, my water had broken. Everyone's birth story is different. It struck me a few days before you were born that my water may not have a conventional story of breakage, and that was okay with me. Daddy and I only had one rule: anything to keep you and me safe.
They cleaned me up and Mashi and Masha went to get lunch. They went to Mama's Cafe and picked up some yummy sandwiches, even Daddy's favorite eggplant wrap! At around 12:30pm, I let our nurse know that I was feeling some pressure close to my vagina. If I recall correctly, my words were, "I am feeling like something's coming out, and I feel like pooping!" She said she would let the midwife know. I told her a few more times before our midwife walked in at 1:15pm (she was schedule to check on me around 2:30pm) and declared, "I hear you think you're ready to have this baby? Let's check, I doubt you're dilated more than 6 still."
I was dilated past 8 cms and almost completely effaced! Daddy had just stepped outside to eat his lunch when he was rushed back in. Our midwife made me do a few practice pushes, which helped my cervix to completely efface. Then, she stuck her hand in me and helped turn you a little to better position you (sorry, you were being turned in there!). At 1:35pm, I began pushing. She was encouraging and I had 2 medical students holding my legs up for me (thanks again, epidural) and Daddy holding my right hand, and Amanda holding my left. At one point, our midwife brought a mirror in so I could see you leaving me and entering this world. It was beautiful to watch you - YOU - coming out of me! I felt the pressure of every contraction, without any of the pain (thanks once more, epidural) and after 5 pushes, and a 2nd degree tear, you were out.
I remember our midwife handing you to my tired but enthusiastic hands. You were so small, so slippery, and she leaned in to give me a little more support. You were quiet for about 10 seconds and then yelped exactly as any baby should that's been spending 9 months brewing in a comfortable cocoon and just got evicted to this cold world. But mamma's warm happy hands had you. You smelled of all that is amazing, raw, and so pure. You looked so perfect. You were breathing and you were here. You latched on right away and I began my journey as being completely and utterly in love with you. Daddy had me in one hand and you in the other. Nani was inspecting to make sure we were fine. Mashi and Masha were trying to get pictures and videos. Everyone was crying, laughing, and just marveling at you - all of you! You had arrived.
You will hear this many many times in your life, Manzil - We come into this world alone. I have said that so many times and believed it until you came into this world. You are half me and half Daddy, and 100% you. You are 1/4 Nana, Nani, Grandma, and Grandpa. You are 100% you. You have Adam's head, and Mashi's smile. You are all you! I have thought so much about your experience of coming out of me (maybe there's an evolutionary reason we don't remember what that journey is like!). You were not alone. You didn't come out into this world alone. And you won't be alone as you go through it.
Always, with you, yours,
This is your last day being zero years old
You have done much, and had many stories told
In your name, about you, stories big and tall
You fill us up, even though you may be small
Small you may be, our hearts grow bigger for you
To see how far you've come, makes us a happy two
Every day with you has made us grow and have fun
Can't believe it, and can't wait for you to turn one!
Happy almost birthday,
You are still what my nightmares are made of
It doesn't seem to matter
How I reconstruct my dreams
Or how carefully I handpick every inch of the interior walls of my fences
Fences I have built to keep you out-
Keep me so far in
You will forget how to find me in my nightmares
Today, you got your first stamp in your passport. We hope it'll be the first of many many! As you travel the world, we hope you grow in every way possible. Traveling will do that to you, if you let it.
Here's to many more Spanish adventures and Spanish siestas!
Love you, always,
Mamma and Daddy
We made it! With lots of love and help. Lots of encouragement and very little sleep. We made it. You're a pretty wonderful teammate, even if you rip your diaper off with the utmost sense of joy and sit screaming in your crib when I'm running off to go pee after 5 hours of not! I love you even more for being the spunky child you are.
I have been a lot of things. I will be a lot of things. Things will change me and I will become them. There are things that I am ashamed of that I have been. Things that I'm so proud of. Things that I have left behind. Things that I haven't yet found. Some days I think about all the forgotten things, the broken things, the untimely things. I think about all the things that are indefinite, things that are begging for repair. I think of things that keep me up at night. Things that give me a reason to wake up each day. Things that complete me. Things that leave behind holes with no bottom. Things make me who I am and I make my things mine. Of all the things I have been though, my most favorite and filling is to be...
It really does take a village
They told her
But then no one stayed
And no one came
To light fires
Help with the cooking
Lift up fallen hearts
Or do anything
In addition to raising her child
She also had to raise her village
Those few sounds
Are sounding more and more like
Sounds we make
Will that mean
You'll forget to tell stories
Like you do now?
Those animated "Ohhhs!" With your mouth
In the most perfect O
Your baby giggles
Uninhibited by the volume control
Of this world we live in
I am so excited to hear your little voice
Talking, sharing, telling stories
I just hope you don't forget these ones
Love you, always,
Not a day has gone by
Since that day 9 years ago
That I haven't marvelled at how we got here
And who we are today
This Pinot we have built
And the mountain we are climbing
Would be so pointless and impossible
Without this bellyfull of wine
Eleven is a funny funny word
And a funny enough number too
Prime, palindrome, and even super-powered
It's even more special because of you
Eleven months ago
Our life changed some
Just a tad, you know
We became a dad and mum
Eleven months of memories
Eleven months of giggles
Watching you move with ease
And get out all your wiggles
When you stand up every day
And take those little steps
We want to get out of your way
But also cushion those tumbles and trips
Now as you prepare
To walk out into the world
Our urge to shelter, protect, and care
Just grew elevenfold
But grow you will
And grow you must
You've got dreams to dream and shoes to fill
And you do that with confidence and trust
Trust in yourself even more
When life is rocky or uneven
Can't wait to see what's in store
For you, our sweet boy of eleven
Welcome to the Broken Club
We have all sorts among us
From hearts, bones, dreams, and hopes
We specialize in all things uncontinuous
Our admirable collection of brokenness
Has roots in our homes and families
We got stuck in the middle of messes
And others trying to figure out happiness
The thing about brokenness
Is that it teaches us all about the strength of glue
This is a test of whether you can survive a break
And if you really have it in you
Welcome to your new home. Today is the first night you're sleeping away from me. My heart is sad. I'm missing you. There's so much that's new here. Your bath. Where you eat. What you see and hear when you're outside. Where you are sleeping. We will make it all home... Our home. For tonight, however, soak in the newness.
This is all we've got
Life is short
Who knows if tomorrow never comes
Tomorrow is promise with no guarantee to be kept
You only live once
Make the best of now
Be present, that's all we've got
What if all of these didn't matter?
And loss didn't exist?
It's far easier to watch
In slow motion
A replay of the last ten seconds of the race you lost
Than to know the exact moment your body was taking a hit, while running
This race, was not against time or other opponents
It was against me
My brain, my anxiety
My body lost
How do you prepare yourself for a big day?
Your body? Your mind? Your heart?
Big days usually come in to categories:
Big days you work for, slowly, steadily
With Herculean effort and coordination
And tons of communication
There are big days that surprise you
Change you, but you don't see it till they're done
At least today, I saw coming.
We tell ourselves
To live life to the fullest
That tomorrow may never come
To live in now
And today alone
The thing is though,
We're tomorrow people
Planners, dreamers, wishers, hopers
We imagine and create that which hasn't ever been
That which doesn't yet know
What today is
I find that a little confusing
But maybe I'll deal with that feeling now
Rather than tomorrow
You are a perfect blend of your Mamma and Daddy. You are a tomorrow person, my little cafe au lait. As an immigrant woman of color, I think any storytelling space needs to be won with a fight. This is because the storytelling spaces that currently exist, and the storytellers whose voices we hear, are white male. And by voice, I mean perspectives, cultural attitudes, and I experiences, but I also literally mean voice. I have yet to find a podcast created by immigrant women of color in mainstream United States, which features storytellers with accents from around the world. I think there is no more critical time in our existence as humans, to give a space for women of color to tell our stories, and shift the edge of these heteronormative white male walls out a bit more with every story.
I love you,
What's there behind that veil
The curtain you draw
The walls you put up?
Does every surface become a mirror
When you're too afraid to see yourself?
Does your reflection find some way of creeping into your eyes?
Do you find yourself watching
Even with your eyes tightly glued
Knowing there is no light left in or out of you?
Where do you turn
When your feet are nailed down
And there's no other place to be
Many times in life, you will be faced with the choice to be honest or not. Honesty can certainly live in a grey world, but really it's pretty straightforward and simple: a truth is a truth. And well, everything else is not. Families can be focal points of lies. We lie for lots of reasons. Most of the time we think we're doing the right thing by lying. Sometimes keeping secrets and choosing to not tell the truth, is a lie. We lie to ourselves because we are scared of what the truth might mean. The truth can often hurt, but if we trust and love the people who are telling us the truth, then we have to trust that they're looking out for us the best way they can. You will have many choices and chances to be truthful, and you will also decide not to be. I hope you will know why and work to set yourself freer with the knowledge of your honesty.
I truly love you,
Turning 10 months is no joke
Even though it's a whole lot of fun
Especially with our little bloke
Who's got smiles for every situation
This big little guy has been
Busy on the move, with places to go
He's been practicing his standing,
Getting ready to walk, keeping us on every toe
A few more teeth are attempting
To make their way out on top
All things, edible or not, are very tempting
And meal times now need a reliable mop
He giggles at Velcro
Loves his Mamma's keys
He swings like a pro
Drums on Daddy with ease
Bath times are getting exciting
With reflections inciting laughter
The bath meant, of course for splashing
Or sometimes to catch the water
Patient, independent, curious as ever
He's always ready to go
Thankful for a good night sleeper
Because day naps are impacted by FOMO
You are changing tons and tons
From your size, your sounds, to your food
Not a day has gone by in the last ten months
That we're not filled with gratitude
In the divorce
He got her dignity
She got god
Piece by piece she put her life together
Piece by piece he took it apart
Two signatures on a paper
Couldn't give her the keys
When he had the lock
She tried to rebuild
But he had all the blocks
Though his bricks were made of hate
He still knew how to make a prison
With nothing more than his thoughts
I waited patiently for his misery to consume him
But it always found the best company
He surrounded himself with crutches
Even with both his legs on him
Enabled as he may be
Inside he was crippling to nothing
That's when he rose with anger
To fill his shell with more carcasses
A day will come
When it will slowly end
He will be empty in and out
Nothing more than a shell
On that day, she
Will be full and complete
There was nothing he could take
From a carcass with no meat
Remember how lines drawn on maps
Were meant to tell babies with long noses and flat noses apart?
They were supposed to be able to demarcate
where men with foreskin lived
And where those without would survive
mere lines drawn with pencils, or maybe
Splitting, dividing, like that last slice of pizza
or a melting ice cream cake
Really don't need to have this happen again
That feeling of waking up
A series of moments that would be fine
If they were never relived
They would be fine
To be left alone
To be sutured by the delicate hands of time
The big and the little working together
To wrap up a wound memory won't let heal
There's a first time for a lot of things
And some of these, don't need a second
It's all a twist of fate
Or a sleight of a very clever hand
You don't know if your fork
Was the one you will tell happy stories about
Or will haunt you every night
This randomness is so cunning
You can hear an unruly eenie meenie minie moe
Ringing long after the tiger was caught and let go
All these moments
And all these sayings
Fail to capture
All of this
Nap when the baby naps
The days are long, but the years are short
It goes by so fast
He'll be in college before you know it
All of you is already double your height
Since you came out of me
My stretch marks have begun to fade
My body is writing a new story
You are standing all by yourself
You can and do crawl far
But you turn to make sure I'm still there
That I'm still watching, still having your back
The thing is Manzil,
No matter how invisible my stretch marks are
Or how strong you are
I'll still be here, rooting for you, having your back
I love you,
The universe is bizarre, mystical, magical, perplexing, and sometimes terrifying. I think often about all the breaths we've taken from inside our mommies to those in joy and sadness, and all the things and people that/who have taken our breaths away... And I'm so glad I get to share this life, this opportunity to breathe with you. Raising my cup to today, to you, to 31 years filled with you, and to many many more.
I love you, always,
Today, as I talked, you let me know I wasn't listening. Also, today, as you listened, I let you know that I needed you to talk. Communication is such a funny thing. I'm sorry that I'm still such a beginner at it sometimes. I'll keep trying.
I love you so much,
Today is a day of changes. Much is changing and will continue to. Today, we are practicing being grown ups, and yet we couldn't do it without the grown ups in our lives.
Hopefully, we'll be those grown ups for our little guy someday. Maybe we already are? ;-)
I love you,
Today is a day of leaps. Leaps and bounds. Leaps of faith. Leaps into the unknown. We've taken many in the past. So many miles, so many moves, so many new beginnings, so many goodbyes, so many big adventures.
Here we are again... At the threshold of a new leap. There's no one else I'd rather be leaping into this unknown with, than you.
I love you,
I know I'm that girl with the trust issues. I know that it takes so much to win and then sustain my trust. I know it's not something I'd like you to take for granted. But do you know that I really appreciate that you know that about me?
I love you,
Today is the start it something new. You've come a long way. We've come a long way. It's a scary point, but we've seen some ugly stuff together and we've more than survived it. I believe we can get through this. It may not be pleasant or pretty, but we'll get through it.
I believe in you.
There's so much you've taught me about myself and help: when to ask for it, expect it, give it, want to give it, offer it, hope for it, act on it, and the numerous ways in which to receive it. Our ideas are different sometimes, but I'm grateful that I can ask you for help and that I can expect it.
I love you,
Even after all these years, there's still room for growth and understanding between us. I love that I can experience that and learn from that. We have been working hard to understand one another, and that makes such a world of a difference. But what I think has helped even more is not making the assumption that we understand one another.
I love you,
Remember how far we used to be? Worlds apart didn't seem big enough but sometimes we could touch the distance between us, even as we say in the same room. That's how things grow and change.
I hope our distances only bring us closer.
I love you,
Can you believe how far we've come and that we're are actually here? There are days where we speak, but don't listen. And then there are those where we can't hear. I wish us lots of listening and hearing all we can go from here to there.
I love you,
Can you believe we're here? 14, 15 years just seemed to have breezed by. You are different. I have changed. We have created so much together, including a human being. Today, things didn't work out as we hoped. But maybe they worked out for the best. I guess what's meant to be, will.
I love you,
Do you remember 15 years ago when you said hi? I didn't realize then, but you had started to fill my cup. Even since then, there are times when my cup overflows, and sometimes when it's got nothing in it. No matter the case, I know I can always clink my cup to yours. Thank you for that.
I love you,
I want to take all the sweet things I've ever said
And squeeze them into a bottle
That you can pour on your pancakes
If you ever doubt just how incredible you are
Even if you can have a little fluff (in your ears ; )
I love you,
Who will you choose to be
When you're faced with your many yous?
Will you choose the you that makes you happy
Or the you that pushes and torments you?
Will you choose the bigness in you
Or choose to be misled by your small version?
Perhaps you'll find that lethargy you hide behind
And see a you ready to leave your orbit
Who really knows?
I know, not you
About who you are and will be
And who you will choose
A dear friend yesterday said to me, on the matter of self-care, "What are you willing to let go of in order to take care of yourself?" I should've asked myself that question today because I had such a delicious cake and I'm really paying the price of it tonight with all the delicious cream on it.
There will be many times in your life when you'll need to give up something that brings you joy for something that brings you contentment or even peace.
I hope you'll choose well.
I love you, always,