Monday, December 31, 2018

Good night, good bye

What a year
From sickness
To vacations far away
From new beginnings
To old goodbyes
What a year it has been
And I'm ready to see what's next

1191

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Nights from Hell

I've had to see many of these
Stay up during them
Hold hair back
Clean the floor
Make toast at 3am
Hug all night long
I don't like these
Especially when I can't do much
And it hurts to know that I'm completely useless

1190

Saturday, December 29, 2018

These Moments, These Days

I wanted to hold you forever
And forever became a moment in time
And so I held you forever
And time,
Well it didn't have a choice
But to slow down

1189

Friday, December 28, 2018

Welcome Back, hmm...

I don't know how I really feel
To have you here from the past
You bring the good, bad, and ugly
And I'm not sure I want that

1188

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Resolved

I have so many promises to keep
I've lost track of what they meant
When I first made them
So
Instead
I shall make one
And promised myself to keep it
A double promise indeed

1187

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Let the Good Times Roll

I have a lot to be thankful for
And for a change
I'm allowing myself to be

1186

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry

It takes so much more
And it's worth so much more
And it's never been easy
To be this merry

1185

Monday, December 24, 2018

Bows on a Tree

Snowflakes so bright
They twinkle
Strewn on the tree
Meant for this season
Filling me with all sorts of memories
Warm and wonderful
Thrusting the negative out
To leave room for
Light and love

1184

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Full Hearts Again

Of cousins
And memories
Of surviving childhood
Relishing it
And now
Reliving it
Through our very own
Even though they're not really ours

1183

Saturday, December 22, 2018

My Arms, Your Head

Dear Baby,

Yesterday your pointed at your
Head
Shoulder
Knees
These
Toes
And I thought to myself
I've never been more proud
Of anything else I've made

1182

Legacies

When your watch one of your own
Become more then you
There's a little part of your heart
That forever bears on
Whether you do or not
It's this that'll keep me going

1181

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Throat

I'm stuck
Sneered between phlegm
And trachea
And I need a way out

1180

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Come on, heart

You can do it
Go past 25 percent
You've done it in the past
Do it again

1179

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Report

Can't decide
You protect
You abuse
You kill
Yet you hold me
To let me know you'll never leave

1178

Monday, December 17, 2018

Kya Hua?

It's really hard to watch
And really hard to not know
How do I begin fixing this
Helping you?

1177

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Weighted

Can you do something
To take this weight off of me
I can hardly feel my hands anymore
My nerves are bent from carrying this shit

1176

Burgundy

Delicious
First times
Whoever thought
Oh well

1175

Friday, December 14, 2018

Lean In

You just don't get it
And when you don't get it
You tell me it's because I don't
And therein lies your privilege

1174

Cursed

Maybe this year
We would've broken the pattern
And all that has been
Will stay in the past?

1173

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Your Loss

Even though you're a white man
You say
Don't keep reminding me that I'm white
Or a man
It's as though that's all you see
I tell him
No, but it feels like
Sometimes
You forget
That you're white
And a man
And I would love nothing more than
To never remind you
Of that

1172

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Alternating

We'll take turns
Even when it's hard to step up
Because when the night starts to fade
We're all we've got

1171

I Did It!

You know how you send to you
Make plans for things you may never do?
I made a list
And I made plans
And then I made them happen
And that feels good!

1170

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Hello, Again

It's only been a few decades
But I can sense your return
It's not that I'm happy to see you
I'm not
I'm just disappointed
I didn't see you coming

1169

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Baker

Did you enjoy baking today?
It takes a whole lotta loving
Mixing
Adding
Thinking
Measuring
Smelling
Planning
And of course
Eating

1168

Water

Dear M,

As words will roll off your tongue
And slither through the spaces in your teeth
And find their way out your fingers and hands
In flaps, claps, and gestures only we have seen
We will remember this day, as the day you said so clearly
Water

We love you,
M

1167

Thursday, December 6, 2018

One Point Five Years

If you have a Manzil encounter soon, you may notice that he is... Climbing up and down chairs, wanting to run on steps, imitating words, enamored by thunder and lightening, shouting "water" at the rain, telling us how big the moon is, able to find any fire hydrant from yards away, making fun animal sounds, watching and imitating mamma and daddy like a hawk, helping with chores/ghar ka kaam (cleaning up, watering plants, taking out pans and puts them back in, putting groceries away, cooking), taking off his shoes, trying to put on his shoes, loving his friend Lauren, painting with raw joy, relishing his BRADDA and berries, jiggying in his dance parties, eating from a big person plate and drinking from a big person glass, making pretend coffee and chai, diligently saying namaste, enjoying his friends and toys in childcare, combing his hair, borrowing our keys to try and open every door in the house, drawing, and one of our very special favorites... Sitting in our laps to read his favorite books.

1166

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

All This Rain

My most favorite memories
Will be
What we made today
Sitting inside
As we marveled at our outside
Blanket on ground
Our tushies on it
Wrapped up in sweaters and heating bags
But most importantly
Hugs

1165

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

You Got This

Somedays I need to say that more
Somedays I need to hear it more
But most days,
I really just need to know it
And that's the toughest

1164

Monday, December 3, 2018

Weaned

And so it goes
546 days later
Through all the pain
Classes
Bras
Books
Tears
Getting into the weirdest positions
The hum of the pump at night
Feeling your first teeth
Bottles
Bother cleaning routine
Throw ups (2)
Gushing (many)
Leaks
Planning
Covers
Singing
Yeh chaand sa roshan chehera
Cushions
Feeding in public
In bed
In the dark
In quiet
Through major distractions
And here we are
Weaned

My love for you though,
Waxed.

1163

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Why Do I Do That?

You ask
And I say the same thing
Each time
Because
You do
And so I feel
Like I can too

1162

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Maybe. Maybe not.

So you never wonder
I hope you know
You're the reason I may not have another
You're the one who came
But didn't show up

1161

Friday, November 30, 2018

Phew

Sigh it all out
That's your worry leaving you after all
You early goodbyes
You regrets and would have beens
Now you get to just be

1160

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Moms Demand Action

You say it's your right
Some amendment, you say
What about mine though?
First, is better than most?

1159

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Hello, Again

Can't say I'm happy you're back
Especially when you stem from there
And make it so hard to move ahead

1158

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Reactive

Hi Body,

When you decide you make sense
It might all be too late
Maybe I'll understand a little
Before that happens?

Love,
Me

1157

Monday, November 26, 2018

What About My Time?

Your goals your fears
Your hurdles your hiccups
Your dreams your solitude
Your body your time
What about mine?

1156

Your first of many

So many firsts
In your little life
I can't wait to see
Many many more come your way

1155

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Playful

A little side of you
Only comes out
When your little one here
Comes out

1154

Friday, November 23, 2018

What's Going On Down There?

I don't get it
I think I know
And then I feel tricked by
You

1153

Naan(i)

Your next word had to be
Some version of Nani
And it's so fun to see how you can reach up and
Find all the stars we thought you had left
Behind

1152

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Manly

I wish I could tell you
How I don't understand what that word means
How hard I've worked to forget what it meant

1151

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Going Home

When you go home today
Will you remember to pack
Your new found dignity?
It will help you
Stay on your feet
And don't forget
All the shit you are leaving behind
Don't come back for it
It's better off without you
And you, of it

1150

Monday, November 19, 2018

A New Man

So
You're a new man today
I see
Through you
Even if you've
Cut out bits of you
Maybe you're hoping
They cut out all the bad parts
Along with it?

1149

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Pressure

Can't tell where exactly it is
Or how long it will decide to stay
I know it's pushing me up and down
This and that way
I need it to stop
So I can take a moment's breath
And figure out what to do next

1147

Friday, November 16, 2018

Tough Times

What really brings out all
If the perfect metaphors
And comparisons between my insides
And that of a solid metal anchor
Is times like these

1146

Thursday, November 15, 2018

What Are You?

I can't tell
And maybe I could
If I knew where you were coming from
Your source eludes me
Making it impossible to know
How to get rid of you

1145

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Stand Up, Stand Tall

My legs ache under my weight
But I know
I have little choice
But to walk on

1144

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Dunked

Come on already body
I get it
I need to change anything
I'm trying
But you gotta with with me here

1143

Monday, November 12, 2018

Slam

Dunked like a little cookie
In a large cup of chai
And all for what?
A soggy piece of existence
Served with a side of endings

1142

Sunday, November 11, 2018

I Saw You Cry

You said sorry
Sorry for being emotional
But it's what I needed you
To feel
All these years
Without the tears
Without all the fear

1141

Saturday, November 10, 2018

What A Day

Information giving
Farming to create
Planning newness
Burying old
Carving for tomorrow

1140

Friday, November 9, 2018

Mamma

My dear Manzil,

Today, after much deliberation
And in much desperation
You said, Mamma

You might not remember
Your very first word
Was mamma

At seven lovely months
You decided to say nothing but
And now finally you found it again

Yours, always,
Mamma

1139

Almost There

I can see it
Shining, calling me to it
Even though I've never run a race
I could tell
It was where
It's always been

1138

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Light

I feel light
And lit
And all of this light
Carving its way through the darkness

1137

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Blue

Don't feel it
Even though I do
Can't wait for more of it
Will it come through?

1136

Monday, November 5, 2018

Go Away

I didn't invite you
And I certainly don't want
You here
So why do you insist on returning
So punctually every month?

1135

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Boat sounds like...

Today, I turned in my ballot
For the first time in person
Next time I vote
I hope it'll be in person
At my polling station
Next time,
I hope it works out

1134

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Eggshells

I wish I could tell you
That pins and needles are as sharp as
Eggshells
Which may seem so innocuous
But can still cut through
Till all of you bleeds

1133

Friday, November 2, 2018

Whine

My heart of course hurts
My ears too
But really it's my brain
More than anything
That needs kindness

1132

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Builder Bar

Your strength speaks loud and clear
It tells me to remember days like today
When we are drowning in a cesspool of
Hopelessness
To remember your strength

1129

Monday, October 29, 2018

Let's Figure this Shit Out

When enough is truly enough
I think it's okay to take a moment
To reset
Restart
And figure this shit out

1128

Sunday, October 28, 2018

What in the World

Do you see the pattern?
I'm these recent events
Feels like history is repeating
When will the cycle end?

1127

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Don't You Worry

I know there will be times
When I tell you that
And you will not believe me
Not the hardest will be, my dear,
When I don't believe you

1126

You will not be Erased

Dear M,

How was your first teach in?

Did you listen with your whole heart and body
When one after the other people came up
And told us how terrified they were of erasure?

Did you listen with your whole heart and body
How mindfully they chose their words
Knowing that they are monitored and policed all the time?

Did you notice how they asked their allies to step up
To be accomplices with our bodies
To stand in front of, behind, and besides
When push becomes shove becomes tear gas becomes bullets?

Our bodies may be so different from one another
Our voices sing and wail in every pitch possible

Our dreams though,
Our dreams bleed the same colors when they are bludgeoned

And though physics will teach you that the color white contains all colors on the spectrum
Be courageous

Challenge what you are told
For what you know to be true

That pink and blue skies are inseparable right before the day begins and ends
Just as we are all tailored with the same threads of euphoria and grief
When met with our beginnings and endings

And that white, of all colors, cannot fathom the beauty of all the shades of brown you are, without rendering you completely invisible

And you, my dear M,
Are anything but.

With powerful love,
Your Mamma

1125

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Sad Birthday

Dear Batty,

My eyes hurt
A dried up kind of hurt
Which is odd
Because I've cried a lot for a month
So they should be moist
But like your cruel end
They are dry
And devoid of hope

Miss you,
S

1124

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Birthday Eve, Dying Day

What odd cruelty is this
Some trick the world is playing
Taking you away
Right before your got a chance to celebrate
A chance to fall in love
And be loved
To be full of dreams
Complete and forgotten
To have the future face you
And you have the luxury of staring right back
To live
A chance to live

1123

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Back to Where it all Started

Today, you will go back
To where you came from
Yet so far from where you began
I think of the moment you emerged
How no mother should have to say goodbye
And still, here you are
Back to where it all started

1122

Gone

I woke up
Against my will
But maybe for you
Surely,
For you
To say goodbye
One last time
Goodbye, my friend

1121

Monday, October 22, 2018

Confront

It may seem the same
But take it from someone
Who has an advanced degree in this
It was different
Things may not change tomorrow
But when they do
Know that you lit the flame

1120

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Nausea

Hello my old friend
I don't care where you've been
I never asked you to come back
And I would much rather you go away

1119

Baby Doll

I knew you had it in you
To delight the world with your words
And your choice from all
The words in the world
I'm glad you chose baby doll

1118

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Malign

So there you were
Growing
Without impetus or invitation
But your time is now done

1117

Double Trouble

When you get twice the trouble
You also get twice the joy
Cuddles and all the smiles

1116

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Climb On

So high
Yet treading untested waters
My little heart leaps
As you jump
Down

1115

Monday, October 15, 2018

Helper

Dear M,

Today, you wanted to help
And you did
Like a little kind listener
You put things away
I can't wait to see what'll come next
I know I'll be around to watch it change

Love,
M

1114

No More Sweater Weather

None of it
No more
Spoiled to the core
Of my very thin skin

1113

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Destination

You make me feel like I can put my foot on the brake
Like it's okay to take a deep breath
And take in the scenery
Like tomorrow is here
And yesterday is yet to arrive
You make me feel like I am here
And it's been one hell of a ride

1112

Friday, October 12, 2018

Eu-pecking-rika

Of all the things you say
And like to say
My favorite was what you said today
You told me that time
Is just like the word itself
Made out of odd letters that sometimes follow the rules and sometimes don't
It's short and done before you begin saying it
It starts so definitively
And ends silently
If it didn't have the ending it does
It would be a sad little Tim

1111

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Generations

Old in a new kind of way
At two different points in their journeys
But still connected at all the intersections of this life

1110

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Something Different

Can you tell
That it feels different
The air around us smells stale
Mimicking the essential rotting if what we used to be
And the light around is fading
Crying only a hint of a distant memory of what we could be

1109

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Right Side

Usually you're my better side
Tattoos, holes, injuries
You've seen it all
This time though
You disappoint

1108

Monday, October 8, 2018

Leap Frog

Are you already ready
To jump into whatever comes next?
To polish what you have learned so far
And use it to land on your next lily pad of milestones
Will you let me come with you
Or tread these waters alone?

1107

Say Your Name

Repeat it slowly
Now normally
Like you would to a friend
Now say it like you mean it
Like you were born with it
Say it so I can colonize you
With my demands between your every syllable
And then say it in a way
It was never meant to be spoken
But the only way I will understand it
And now
Say your new home

1106

Saturday of Snuggles

Clouds big enough to
Cover up all my flaws
Scattered throughout the grass outside
But your hold
Brings me sunshine

1105

Friday, October 5, 2018

Just Slide

Hey you
With your little fingers curled up
In the most snug of fists
Your fist on my chest
Just below my collar bone
Your nose making the hair
On my arm tickle
Your face moist with sleepy sweat
And your little sighs
I could stay here
Forever

1104

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Skillful Blocking

I absolutely cannot
I cannot let my brain
Or worse
My heart
Go there
I think of a world without you
And my eyes come to a crashing close
To shut it all out

1103

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Waltz with You

I saw you follow the beat
And capture the rhythm
With both of your hands and feet
I caught a glimpse of the shine
As you smiled in my direction
Letting me know this dance was mine

1102

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Timeless Giggles

Tonight I held you
And through the darkness
I could still make out your dimple
Smiling in your right cheek
And then you giggled
A full assured giggle
And I responded
With a teeny unsure one
And you forgave me
And giggled even louder

1101

Monday, October 1, 2018

Batting

Rooting for you means
Pulling out every weed
That's coming in the way
Of you growing
To be your full self
Nothing like a little drought
To get us to love on
Our roots even more

1100

Fight

We are all rooting
We are all cheering
We are hoping against hope
And holding on to every thread
We have every cliche on our side to ask you to
Hang in there
Fight

1099

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Stay

Yesterday,
I asked you to come back
Begged
What can I do to
Make you stay?

1098

Friday, September 28, 2018

Come Back

I want you to know
That if you want to wake up
We'll all be here
We're all here
We love you
And are rooting for you
Come back

1097

Doing It All

I did it
Even though I told myself I couldn't
Even though everyone said I couldn't
It still happened
So I know it can be done
But at the expense of what

1096

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

You Did It!

It took about 15 days
And it may sound trivial
But 15 days times 30 minutes times all the tears
you shed
Times the piercing volume of your scream
Times your nonstop screams
Equals a little piece of my heart breaking each day
But today, you did it
I walked in anticipating my heart breaking
But instead, it soared because
You did it

1095

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Help Me If You Can

If you could
I really really would
Appreciate your little something
To get me by
On a high
All the way
Over there
To feel like you care
Is only fair
So my dear Dan
Help me if you can

1094

Monday, September 24, 2018

Knee

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
Its pain
And I paid a lot for it

1093

Stood Up

Not my
It's you
Still, my heart broke a little
And I bought flowers to repair it

1092

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Watered Up

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 moist from our own sweat 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

1091

Friday, September 21, 2018

I'm lost

I didn't realize it
That I was never really found
And the woods are so deep
I don't remember ever setting foot in them

1090

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Namaste

You're ready to say so much
And yet you are holding it in
You reserve your words in loud exclamations
Ready for any occasion

1089

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Jimbo

That's so funny
You said
Through tears that didn't seem remotely happy

1088

Time to Go

You reek
Even when I air you out
Even when I scrub every inch of you
You torment me
And you must go

1087

Monday, September 17, 2018

Nothing in Here

Each day is such a mighty act
Of just getting by
And getting through
Without completely losing it

1086

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Cisterhood

I didn't ever realize I was looking
I didn't know what I didn't have
I hadn't seen what I couldn't find
Until I found you

1085

Are You Concerned?

Does it bother you
When we're headed in the wrong direction
And you didn't realize
Or do you pretend unit didn't notice and keep moving
Just in case you stumble into righteousness?

1084

Friday, September 14, 2018

Look At Me

A few years ago
I couldn't say this
Was remotely possible
So much would've come in the way
Mostly me, I would've come in my way
And lost sleep and been disappointed
And disappointed
But all I can say now is
Hey
Look at me

1083

Thursday, September 13, 2018

How Low?

Really, how low is too low
Before you crumble and let go?

1082

Stuck Still

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
But, no
This is quicksand
This is tar
This is a mess
And I'm stuck

1081

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Cold like an Avalanche

I was trying so hard not to catch it
Tried to slow down
Tried to catch my breath
But every time
My feet caught up
And I caught it

1080

Birthdays

Another one come and gone
Will you chase it
As it runs far far away from you?

1079

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Sisterhood

All it has ever taken
Is
One woman standing up for
Another
All it ever takes is for one
To hold the other up

1078

Saturday, September 8, 2018

High Energy

Dear M,

I love all of you,
I love that part of you that's all energy
I love that part of you that's ready to explore
I hope you never change
I hope you always know

You light up my world,
Mamma

1077

Choices

Even in the face of absolute terror
We have it in us to find a speck of beauty
And that little speck sometimes
Is all we get to
Hold on to
And nurture till it becomes a flame

1076

Thursday, September 6, 2018

New Things

Dear Bumpy,

We miss you everyday! You were our first and you have seen us through so much. Today, we got a new thing. It looks like you, but different. We remembered you and miss you.

Thank you.

1075

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

ER

I thought another one of you was about to pop out
And the pain caused nausea
And the pain made my arms numb
And the pain made me hyperventilate
Till I thought I was going to pass out

1074

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

I am worth it

Sometimes I feel unworthy of my dreams
That I see in the secrecy of my sleep
Soo, especially on the mornings after
I work with myself
Persuading myself
That I'm worth every glimmering
Speck of my dream

1073

Monday, September 3, 2018

Hold Tight

On Friday night
I thought to myself
Monday night was so far
Last night
It had sprung up on me
Before I had the chance to soak it all in
To hold tight

1072

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Open Up

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

1071

Villagers

Thanks for being there
So we don't have to
Do this
Alone
Even though we have some a rather decent job
Of pretending we can
So far
At least

1070

Friday, August 31, 2018

Goodbye August

Days filled with heat
That we hardly felt
And nights of cooling breeze
That we came to know a bit
New moments
Plane trips
Goodbyes
And so many hellos
New firsts
It's been a long one
So with love and joy,
I say goodbye

1069

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Good Times. Old Times.

It's almost as though
No time has elapsed
Yet here we are
With 3 more in tow
Still anchored by
Memories of cooking
Dancing
Singing
Late night surprising
Exploring
Loving and more

1068

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

And Done

It happened so fast
Yet took so long
And such a village to make it happen

1067

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Call to Conscience

We were all called
To stand up tall
As we witnessed our own privilege
Of being on this side of the wall
To unpack all of this
Is to sit with all this trauma
That we have made others endure

1066

Monday, August 27, 2018

Where Were We?

Dear Manzil,

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,
Us

1065

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Little Legs

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

1064

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Gotta Face It

Dear Manzil,

There will be a lot of things you don't like about me. And even though I don't get a vote, I do hope you will like about me that I work hard to spreal directly to people. Especially to those I care deeply about.

I love you,
Mamma

1063

Friday, August 24, 2018

Soy

What flavor will you be today?
A little sugary dream sprinkled in
Will add to your deliciousness
And I can't wait to eat you up

1062

Betadine

You fell
And it made my heart leap
I thought you were two feet
Stumbling in your errors
Finding your way in the dark

1061

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Assumptions

You never learned to give the benefit
Of your doubt
Doing dubious things
With no one to question your
Authenticity

1060

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

That's a crazy question

No questions are stupid
But some questions are crazy
Especially when asked
When the answer is not something
You're ready to hear

1059

New Sights, Old Eyes

I see you
In ways I hadn't before
In ways I want sure I needed to
And certainly didn't want to
And you showed me new things
That opened my old eyes

1058

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Why are you here?

Your ableism allows you
To be here
Or maybe my classism questions it

1057

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Better

It could've been better
But that means that I now can see
That I'm better
And that I see myself as better
Than I've ever been

1056

Friday, August 17, 2018

Alliance

I never learned
How to notice
The good things
When good things happened
I was too busy counting down
To the next bad one
To relish in the good
But you said
Life's too short
To only soak in the bad
And I need to learn to listen

1055

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Mystery

You were just standing there
Alert
Alerting us off your presence
Flashy and beaten down
As unsure as I
About what do next

1054

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

So Full of You

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
Place

1053

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Biting My Nose

Do you realize how
much you make me smile when
you giggle and take my nose in
your mouth
It refines my sense of smell
And hones my sense of humor

1052

Monday, August 13, 2018

I Expect

It was born when a little part of me
Died
Still, I decided I needed to rise
Because
I know I can

1051

Forgotten

Exhaustion and excitement are
Indeed so close
They both let a person forget
Where one started
In excited exhaustion
Or exhausting excitement

1050

Cousins

What is the root of this friendship
That is bonded by birth
And bounded by life
Will it see itself into the future
Or quietly shrivel inside

1049

Revisit

The center of a mandala
Is the same place that stores
My beating heart
It's the base of the tallest mountain
The edge of the harshest of oceans
Right before the floor falls
And my feet have to decide
To wade or give in

1048

Friday, August 10, 2018

You Will See Too

It's taking me a while
I've had to find the perfect
Prescription
And still there are days
When I just cannot see
I look at you from every angle
I stand on my head
I peek under elbows
Are you even there?

1047

Thursday, August 9, 2018

I'll Try

I promise I do
Everyday
For a while now
I wake up
Earnest in my attempts
And I go to bed
Promising myself to try harder
The question I have though is,
Will you?

1046

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

What's Your Intent?

Last I checked,
I needed no saving
I didn't need a website telling me how
to raise a kind human
I do need some tools to tell
People like you to mind your own business
And maybe even
To save yourself
Do you know where I can find that?

1045

Demented

Will you remember me
When you start to leave me
Will my voice echo somewhere in your mind
Even as I work on quieting down

1044

Monday, August 6, 2018

Learning to Sleep

Such a small thing
We learn to avoid it
Disrespect it
Pretend like it doesn't mean much
Revere it, hell, even crave it
We learn to share it
Give it
And struggle to find it
But never have I appreciated it more than
Watching you learn to do it

1043

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Keep your pants on

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

1041

Friday, August 3, 2018

I Saw You

Last night
You arrived in you form
But also not
And it was the not that makes me want to see you again
But it's the you that reminds me to run

So tonight, I'll run

1040

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Nomad

Maybe there will never be
A place I can call mine
And maybe it won't matter
Because I have places that call me theirs

1039

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Souls and Cups

If I still lived here
Would I still be as flooded with
Happy memories
Or would the struggles blind me
So neither soul nor cup were filled?

1038

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

For Y

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
Torn
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.

1042

Outside

It's been almost ten years
That I've tried to sneak in
Hell, I've even tried to barge by way in
Breaking down windows
And shattering walls
Though I made it in
I'm not so sure I belong
I still smell of outside

1037

Bittersweet

It hurts because this
Goodbye is not just bitter
And it's sweetness is disconcerting
Because I wonder if I'm not
The only one
To think it's sweet

1036

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Remarkable

When my day is supremely banal
Is when I'm most terrified about closing my eyes
Knowing that when they open
The world would've turned without my consent
Without a care whether my life will stay the same
Or stand on its head

1035

All in one day

Old patterns
New endings
Missed middles
All misled by no one in particular

1034

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Enough is More Than Enough

There is no such thing as once again
I will not forgive
And I have not forgotten

1033

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Head Banging

While we jumped
You lay dreaming
Did you see us
Missing you?
We danced with you
Even from afar

1032

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

I Know Why

I know me
And I know me well
So I know when I rumble
It's usually because I'm breaking
I know when I laugh
It's usually because I'm aching
And I know why you do the same
Because I know me
I know why

1031

Monday, July 23, 2018

To My Paul Stadler

What if life were as karmically perfect
That our Pauls had no beginning
Or that perfect ending
So we could tell different stories
To our daughters
To our sons?

1030

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Safe

It's been so long
I've forgotten what safe smells like
How it feels
When you've arrived
And you're not being chased

1029

In My Head

So much to say
All those voices
In my head can't,
Won't - shut up
If only I could silence them for
Just a moment
I could hear my screams

1028

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Crawling

How come I can feel you
Even when you're (definitely) not there?
Do you feel me,
Fear me?
When your far from me?

1027

Thursday, July 19, 2018

She Became Him

All those years of running so far
She didn't realize it was
A circle
Only when she stood in front of him
Did she see it was just a mirror

1026

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Fly Away

Her fear had wings
of its own
Nothing really stopped it
from leaving her so far behind
She simply had no choice but
to go looking for her courage

1025

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Not too bad

Didn't ask for much
But got more than I would've
If I had asked for some
What should I do with today?
Maybe pocket it safely for another
When things fall deeper
Than even
Rock bottom

1024

Monday, July 16, 2018

What Now?

Where do we go
When we've run so far
From where we all began
That we've forgotten what Yesterday looks like
What will you bring to us, Tomorrow?

1023

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Repeat

My voice seeps through,

Until every word is soaked in it.

Can you tell it's me,

Even if it doesn't have my have on it?

1022

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Sound Baths

Do I have to immerse myself
In the noises of yesterday
To write the songs of tomorrow?

1021

Friday, July 13, 2018

Why Again?

When my body has just recently learned to live in itself again
It decides it's time to take a little lie down again
Question is: will those around me stand strong?

1020

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Such good popcorn

Sometimes it doesn't have to be grand
Or exquisite
Or superlatively extraordinary
Sometimes, all it has to be is
A bowl of really good popcorn

1019

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Breakdown

Inch by inch
And bit by bit
You chip away
Until all I'm left with it
Is a broken down version
Of this idea of me

1018

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Ice Cream

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

1017

Monday, July 9, 2018

That's This Life

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

1016

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Those Voices

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
These voices

1015

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Separation

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

1014

Friday, July 6, 2018

Thirteen

All the things you are
you came to be outside of me
thirteen months ago
I see you walk
and I remember when you could barely move your neck from side-to-side
Nowadays, you run
with both arms in the air
saving some poor helpless toys from their misery
of merely sitting on the floor
(and one toy in your mouth too)
you seemed to have forgotten how to sleep through the night
but we're hopeful that will come back to you
Thirteen brought your toddlerhood to fullness
Toddler-tantrums, toddler-tinkering, and general terrific toddledom
You have ridden in a train, flown across oceans, and entertained numerous strangers on bus rides
We saw fireworks through your eyes
We witnessed your hidden turtle come alive in the pool
We've watched you try new foods
and throw the ones you don't like all over the floor
You've been toying with saying, "All done!" "quack quack!"
And seem to have a growing collection of your favorite books
Your love for snakes confuses your Mamma
And your penchant for wheelbarrowing mid-diaper change confuses your Daddy
But overall, I'm happy to report, we aren't too puzzled
We love you, happy 13th month to you!

1013

Thursday, July 5, 2018

When Children Grow

A mirror is what we look into
So we get when it's hot
Baby's feeling hot
But when baby screams
And we're not frustrated
That mirror cracks a bit

1012

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Shitty

Sometimes in life
Shit just happens
And when it does
Your strength is measured
By how you'll clean up

1011

Monday, July 2, 2018

Dress Up

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

1010

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Equally

It's very possible to break
That fortune cookie
Into two ways parts
Of course,
There will be many crumbs shed
And each part may not end up whole
But I still think
It would be worth if they were both split
In the middle

1009

How are you?

How am I?
I am wet. I have been trying to wash away my anxiety for the last hour.
How am I?
I am burning. The cuts in my knuckles are valleys. Through them run rivers of soap and water that still don’t make me feel clean.
How am I?
I am uncertain. Which voice should I listen to? The one telling me that my windpipe is in a knot and is tightening around itself, or the one telling me to breathe?
How am I?
I am alive. And for now that will have to do.

1008

Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Knot and The Twist

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
Me?

1007

Friday, June 29, 2018

Ojos

The way you squint your eyes
Melts me
How did you learn to do this?
When?
Are you squinting away sunshine
Or allowing in sweet wishes?

1006

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Mi esposo es muy inteligente

Apart from being radically lovely,
I also am so very lucky
To have found my very own smart hunky
In my own version of a dream rainy day

1005

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

I Put You On Mute

I'm determined,
She said.
To no one in particular,
Other than the voice in her head
I'm not them
They aren't me
Life is grand
In the ordinary
Still, she searches
For what she's unsure
I think it's her
That she's looking for

1004

Behind because of flying

Such a bizarre feeling
To know you could be doing
What you ought to be
9 hours from now
Time moves funnily
When you move through its barriers
Breaking then one at a time
With the speed of jet fuel
On your side

1003

Monday, June 25, 2018

What do you see?

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

1002

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Sleep

Maybe
Just maybe
You will come and stay
A while
And when you decide it's time to move on
Leave behind
Sugary dreams
And a body ready to face the day

1001

Hello, Home

Dear Home,

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
I'm breathless
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-
Like history.
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,
Empty.
Denied the stories of our past
So you can be monochromatic
Home,
You smell of overripe torment
Of freshly brewing tyranny
And burnt tomorrows.

And I need some air.

1000

Friday, June 22, 2018

Goodbye, Granada

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

999

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Be The Little Wonder

Let the world guide you a bit
In losing parts of you
So little pieces of you can be found
There's so much fun
In discovering a part of you
You've never known before
What if though, you don't want to?
Will you discovering self understand?

998

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Temperature

Skin on skin
Even in the cold
And yet when you burn
All I feel is my cold sweat
Freezing me

997

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Judge Less

I try to be less like him
But, no buts
I have to be less like him
Even if most of me
Is him
And comes from him
Still, I am holding the pen
To my book
And he doesn't even know what it's called anymore

996

Monday, June 18, 2018

Our Precious

Nights like these
Are made of dreams
So delectable and dripping
With wishes that have come true
Gratitude is my favorite flavor
And it's the special tonight

995

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Daddy

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

994

Sit Up

When life issues you warnings
You ought to heed
Or nights become hard
And days too long to count

993

Friday, June 15, 2018

You Got This!

You're so strong
Some days I see iron oozing out of you
Like the smelting source of strength
You remind me that I'm so lucky
To have you on my team

992

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Sputum

Unwanted
Come out and let's look at you in the eyes
Take your gooey unwanted self
Away from me

Here I am
Fighting for you
Emerging from every crevice
To help protect you

991

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Sweetest Thing

Dear Manzil,

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,
Mamma

990

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Too too fast

Dear Manzil,

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.

Timelessly, yours,
Mamma

989

Monday, June 11, 2018

Be Bravest

I tell my little heart
When the loud voices in my brain
Drown out all logic
All ability to realize,
No, remember,
That I only can do
So little
So, my little heart
Contend with that
And you will roar

988

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Priorities

Sometimes your firsts are my seconds
And the other way around
Sometimes, we see eye to eye
And our firsts are aligned
But our true strengths emerge
When something that's on my list
Doesn't even appear on yours

987

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Mad in Madrid

So much to smell
Really take in
Every sight
Taste every smell
Long bodies tucked tightly under
Orange and black sleeping bags
On ramps between flights of stairs
With a small cigarette sticking out
For fresh air

986

Friday, June 8, 2018

Dreamy Giggles

Dear Manzil,

Today, you giggled as you slept. It reminded me that even dreams can be made of sweetness. I hope I dream of you tonight. Giggling.

I love you,
Mamma

985

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Don't Even Try

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

984

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

One

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.
Happy birthday!

983

Birth of a Mother: All the things you are teaching me

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,
Mamma

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

This First Year

Dear Manzil,

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,
Mamma

982

Monday, June 4, 2018

Not Again!

Feel better soon
That's all I can hope for
It would be so sad though
If this happened again

981

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Today, Last Year

You were getting ready
To find your way out
I was getting ready
For you to find a way in

980

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Baffoonery

I'll have you know
That if you pull any baffoonery
I shall not stand for it
There's nothing less tolerable to me
Than to have my dignity pulled from under my feet
And no one
Not even you
Has that power over me

979

Friday, June 1, 2018

Birthday Month

Dear Manzil,

Here it begins!
My new favorite month in the year
I think about last year today
I was so anxious
So big
So ready to meet you
And here you are
It's my favorite month
And it's here

I love you,
Mamma

978

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Even When It Scares You

When bumblebees confuse you
And the sun keeps hiding behind clouds,
I hope you'll keep trying to explore,
Even when it scares you

977

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

One More Week

A year ago
You had made yourself comfortable
Snug in me
Though you knew
Something was changing
I knew I was
I knew you were
And I loved you then
And I love you now

976

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Dreamy Nightmares

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

975

Monday, May 28, 2018

What will today hold?

Time is settling in
To a slow stop
Nothing to do
Nowhere to be
And you in my arms

974

Conflict

Mind and heart
Rarely unite
Grey is the norm
In a world so black and white

973

Saturday, May 26, 2018

First Stamps

Dear Manzil,

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

972

Spanish Siesta

There is a boy named Manzil
He couldn't fall asleep
We tried to rock,
We tried to roll,
But there was still no sleep
Constipation didn't help
Neither did sleepless pain
But maybe he'll go to sleep
When we land in Spain!

971

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Area Code

Of all the places I've lived
All the people I've been
My favorites are many
Here and now is what I have
And completes me to see
That I am whole
And I am all I have been
And all the places that live in me

970

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

In Place

They seem to be falling
Right where we need them to be
Right when
With a few bonus surprises thrown in
And that, is truly a beautiful thing

969

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Lining

I can see it rising
It's always been there
Just not sitting I've been able to see
In a long time
I know everything that goes up
Must come down
This down was so low
I don't know how I can take another down

968

Monday, May 21, 2018

Made It

Dear M,

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.

Yours,
M

967

Almost There

That eve of the unknown
When tummies erupt with butterflies
That have recently found their freedom
From their caterpillary confines
That's my least and most favorite time

966

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Don't Worry

I wish I could say,
Don't worry.
Right after I made you
That wouldn't be fair
It wouldn't be fair
To ask you to put away your knives
Right as the hyenas are coming for you

965

Friday, May 18, 2018

Let Downs

I wear my shame with pride
It teaches me to be better
To know better
And to do better by you
You deserve more
And tomorrow
I'll be grateful
If you let me try again

964

Thursday, May 17, 2018

I'm doing this

Where did all this strength come from?
I looked all around me
I didn't know it had been inside this whole time
But here I am making it happen
Doing it
With all this strength I didn't know I had

963

I can do this

So many downs
And many more ups
That's how I'd like to remember my days
That's how I'd like my days to remember me
Let's see how today is

962

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Trust Me

How can I
When you don't?
One's not dependent on the other
But they almost are
I know you don't agree
But how are we to move ahead together
When all that we have left behind has us chained?

961

Monday, May 14, 2018

Thanks, Men

You can't take accountability
You won't see your role
It's all happening to you
And you are of course not to blame
You are, though,
As toxic as the system that bred you
And your pollutive leftovers are not welcome here

960

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Your Mamma

Dear Manzil,

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...

Your Mamma

959