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

Saturday, May 12, 2018

A Village

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
Remotely village-like
Looked like
In addition to raising her child
She also had to raise her village

958

Friday, May 11, 2018

Let Down

Can't always be up
She told me once
Not always strawberries and bananas
He told me
The thing is though
I only ever knew down

957

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Words

Dear Manzil,

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,
Mamma

956

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Made It

There's still a story
Even after the book ended
Even after you made it
To the very end

There's more to
more to be done
Don't stop looking
Who missed what you'll find

955

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

9!

Dearest D,

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

Love, hamesha,
S

954

Monday, May 7, 2018

Why Won't You?

I ask right now
After wondering all day
Maybe you know
Maybe you know as much as I do
It doesn't help though
To get closer to unknowing

953

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Gyara

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

952

The Broken Club

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

951

Friday, May 4, 2018

No Breaks

The universe just keeps at it
No breaks for this heart
Even as I pick up all the little shards
Left behind

950

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Grateful Eyes

Even with this throbbing headache
Right behind my eyes
I am grateful for what I see
When they're open
For what they show me
And all the light that has still not reached them

949

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Fishy

You know there's something wrong
But you don't know how to see it
It's a far far day
When you will know to say it
For now though, you'll have to know
There's something very fishy
Even if you can't smell it

948

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Break

When all I needed was a break
You chose to break me into little pieces
So you could feel whole again

947

Monday, April 30, 2018

What Are You?

Swimming
Squirming
Where are you headed?
Where did you come from?
Wherever and whatever it and you may be
I hope you are almost done here

946

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Done

Who knows if I'm at the halfway mark
Or nearly there
Or maybe this is just the beginning
Either way
I feel done

945

Saturday, April 28, 2018

How About That

If I told you a different story
Would you believe me any lesser?
I want you to know
That I'm not my lies
Even though most of me is untruthful

944

Friday, April 27, 2018

Bad

Every once in a while
I feel like shit
Not just bad
But a bad person
A bad mother
A bad sister
A bad partner
A bad daughter
On those days
It's good to be reminded
Of all the good

943

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Cuts

There will be many
But there's something so
Precious
So endearing
So special about
Just having had a few
Something to be grateful for
Anything to count on
To show us
That we can do this

942

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Day 1

When we look back at this day
I hope it is with love and gratitude
And some astonishment
At just how strong and resilient we are
And how far we've come
And how far we would've gone

941

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Newness

Dear Manzil,

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.

Welcome home,
Mamma

940

Monday, April 23, 2018

Answers

You have so many questions
In response to mine
And all I really want
Are answers to my answers
Can you take me deeper?

939

Sunday, April 22, 2018

C'mon Already

All we need is a break
From this non-stop nightmare
Not knowing
Not healing
Not changing
Feeling cheated by a little hope
That's not going a long way
C'mon already
All we need is a little break

938

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Tabula Rasa

Let's start over
Leave the past behind
Look no further
Than this moment in time
There's much to be buried
Or to set free
Feelings and skeletons
Wandering quietly
Letting them go
Is all there's left to do
Have to move forward
I'm ready, are you?

937

Friday, April 20, 2018

The Fear of Apologizing

It must be so scary
To say, I'm sorry
Because that would mean
Admission
Acceptance
Which only come after
Denial
Anger
Grievance
But it seems you're stuck at denial
I know, only because
I never made it past anger

936

Thursday, April 19, 2018

It Happened

A good day went by
And I didn't notice how good it was then
So when today began
Though it really wasn't great
I felt better
Than yesterday
Because at least it happened

935

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Better

Could it be
Even if there's no hope
That there's a flutter
Of light?

934

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Lived Cliche

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
Breathe
Be present, that's all we've got

What if all of these didn't matter?
And loss didn't exist?

933

Monday, April 16, 2018

Fight On

You can do this
I know you can
We can
We've battled and won in the past
Why would this be different?
We've also lost
But only to stand up
Ready to fight again
We can do this
I know we can

932

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Of Course

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

931

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Discovery

That little dopamine dose
Paled in comparison to the relief
That tagged along
When these puzzle pieces fit
There's little worse than not knowing
When, how, or why
This is what it is.

930

Friday, April 13, 2018

Not Again

My heart is currently in my right palm
My throat in my stomach
My head is a million miles away
In the hellish corner where hope goes to die
And then I remember,
That I am here
And that much
I am in complete control of

929

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Big Days

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.

928

So Fast

We tell ourselves
Everyday
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
And stifling
But maybe I'll deal with that feeling now
Rather than tomorrow

927

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Of Color

Dear Manzil,

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,
Mamma

926

Monday, April 9, 2018

Triumph

What does your victory look like?
Mine is a full night's rest after a day like today
Does yours include accolade?
Or perhaps a side of chocolate cake?
Mine is knowing that those I love are safe.

925

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Stay

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
But here?

924

Saturday, April 7, 2018

The Secret Lives of Families

Dear Manzil,

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,
Mamma

923

Friday, April 6, 2018

Dus

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

922

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Custody

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

921

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Do your best

For consideration
Is something of essence
Was it your best?
Could it have been different?
Some days it'll be a yes
On others a resounding no
Either way keep asking
So you'll get to get to grow

920

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Stronger

There are other ways of making us stronger
Than beating us down
By holding us down
Chaining our control
Using your past
To decide our future
But you chose that
And we chose to rise
Stronger

919

Monday, April 2, 2018

Obviously

Even when it's completely obvious
It seems so unattainable
I could spend my entire existence
Convincing them
That it is so obvious

918

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Chances are

It's likely I'll screw up
It's likely someone will hurt
It's certain we will experience sadness
I am working so hard though
To focus on all that's good and whole
Because that's certain too
Even if completely hidden
Like eggs never to be found

917

Saturday, March 31, 2018

50-50

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
Lines
mere lines drawn with pencils, or maybe
pens
Splitting, dividing, like that last slice of pizza
or a melting ice cream cake

916

Friday, March 30, 2018

Together

All time really does
And all it really makes us do
Is function in two realities
Too fast
Too slow
Also known as,
Tomorrow
Yesterday
Now, though, a function of time itself
Is absent from my understanding of time
Even though, it's all I've really got

915

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Some Firsts Don't Need Seconds

Really don't need to have this happen again
That feeling of waking up
Being called
Walking into
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

913

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Chances We Take

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

912

Monday, March 26, 2018

So fleeting, but I'm still here

Dearest Manzil,

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,
Mamma

911

Sunday, March 25, 2018

31. 25.

Dear D,

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,
S

910

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Eve. 24.

Dear D,

Today is your birthday eve. I think back to so many midnight celebrations and cross-global phone calls. I'm so proud of you, the risks you've taken, and how far you've come. Can't wait to celebrate tomorrow!

I love you,
S

909

Friday, March 23, 2018

Giggles. 23.

Dear D,

Today was filled with giggles! Even through some difficult headaches and crazy documents, we found laughter! I loved that we could do that!

And I love you,
S

908

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Enough. 22.

Dear D,

It's always good to know that something you have to give is truly more than enough. Thank you for that gift.

I love you, you are enough,
S

907

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Talk. 21.

Dear D,

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,
S

906

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Changes. 20.

Dear D,

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,
S

905

Monday, March 19, 2018

Leaps. 19.

Dear D,

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,
S

904

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Walk. 18.

Dear D,

Today was a day of walking. Walking to a dream, through a dream, and into a new one. Let's hope the sleeping part is restful and blissful.

I love you, dreams or no dreams,
S

903

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Trust. 17.

Dear D,

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,
S

902

Friday, March 16, 2018

A better world. 16.

Dear D,

You always make me feel like a better, more equitable world is possible. Even on days when it feels impossible. Thank you for that.

I love you,
S

901

Thursday, March 15, 2018

We got this. 15.

Dear D,

So much is out of our control. And I'm trying each day to only control what I can. Reasonably. Without losing my mind. I know it might be hard. But we got this!

I love you so much,
S

900

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Believe. 14.

Dear D,

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.
S

899

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Being here. 13.

Dear D,

On the days that you are here, my life is better. It's such a simple thing... Being there. And yet, sometimes it can be so difficult to actualize. Thanks for being here today.

I love you,
S

898

Monday, March 12, 2018

Help. 12.

Dear D,

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,
S

897

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Understanding. 11.

Dear D,

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,
S

896

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Distances. 10.

Dear D,

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,
S

895

Friday, March 9, 2018

The time we take. 9.

Dear D,

I will always remember the time you take to spend with us. Like today, how you spent time. But more importantly, that you enjoyed it!

I love you,
S

894

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Another go. 8.

Dear D,

Today, we gave it another go and it reminded me that we get many chances in life, if we're lucky. And if we're wise, we won't squander them.

Thanks for taking a chance on me. I love you,
S

893

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

And now...7.

Dear D,

What do you think will happen tomorrow? It could all end. And yet, it's you who keeps me going and believing. Believing that even though it could all end tomorrow, now is so worth it.

I love you,
S

892

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Here we are. 6.

Dear D,

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,
S

891

Monday, March 5, 2018

Where we were. 5.

Dear D,

I have been thinking all day about where we were 9 months ago. Where we were a year ago. Where we have been. And how far we've come. It's really something, na?

I love you,
S

890

Sunday, March 4, 2018

What's meant to be. 4.

Dear D,

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,
S

889

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Look at how far we've come. 3.

Dear D,

Today was a day of firsts! We were exhausted by the end of it, but two things were clear: we have come so far and life is freaking fragile.

I cannot wait to see what's next in our adventures!

Love you,
S

888

Friday, March 2, 2018

My cup. 2.

Dear D,

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,
S

887

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Because you are. 1.

Dear D,

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,
S

886

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Last days

I think back to eight months ago
From today
And how my entire sense of time
Has been governed by weeks, months, and milestones
How fast it has all gone by
Yet so slow
But, you, you are perfectly on cue

885

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Have a little faith

It still feels impossible
Yet I try
To move on
From the big holes you left me in
After cutting all my ropes away

884

Monday, February 26, 2018

The You You Are

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

883

Sunday, February 25, 2018

That Cake Though

Dear Manzil,

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,
Mamma

882

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Mirror Mirror

What do you see
When you're showing me
All there is for me to see
I'm trying to get a glimpse of you
But your shadows are brighter than you

881

Friday, February 23, 2018

Little Radical

Very few moments
Complete like this
Like that last puzzle piece clicking in
Or the final bite of an ice cream cone
The one filled with hardened chocolate
As though it's consoling me
To make it through the end of my treat

880

Thursday, February 22, 2018

My One Moment

All it takes is a little tiny clock hand
Holding yours in its palms
Moving along and away
On its path it knows to walk
Whether you keep up or not

879

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Help

You came by
Before I even realized
I needed you
How did you know
My dreams were collapsing
Did my surrendering eyes give away
My last remaining balance
Of me

878

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Hard To Hear

I hear you
That these things I say
Are hard to hear
But
I don't know where to look
For the right words
To tell you anything different
Than
You are perfect
The way you are

877

Monday, February 19, 2018

Okapi

Such a blend
A hodge-podge of two
Spotted stripes
There you were
Hopping, more donkey-like
Than I could have imagined

876

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Passage

I know the only way out is
Through
The thicket of my own heady heart
Beating out of my chest
So loud
Even the loudest gulp
Couldn't quiet it
Because at the end,
The end is where I'll find my beaming self
That is
If the passage doesn't extinguish me

875

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Clean Slate

You mind if I don't move on?
That way I can remain certain
That my grudges will hold me down
Harder than the tightest seatbelt
On the highest rollercoaster
At least then you'll know
That I was completely empty inside
When you decided to fill me up

874

Friday, February 16, 2018

What did you learn?

We're you listening
When you were being told
That humility could unglue,
Better than anger,
You out of just about any
Sticky situation
But you chose
To rage
And where,
On the darkest hole of your sadness,
Did that land you?

873

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Better Yet

You are getting better
Better yet
You were so happy and so full
It reminded me
That I'm whole
Better yet
That I'm full

872

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

That Smile Though

No matter how tough
How confusingly excruciating
Unbelievably terrifying
A day can be
That smile though,
That smile

871

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

You are more

All the biggest words
In all the biggest places
Can't make you bigger
I still don't fully understand that
But you remind me
That even when I have no words
I'm enough

870

Monday, February 12, 2018

Dire Brightness

There are quiet little
Spots in the loudest corners
That have some sad stories to tell
And if you listen very carefully
You will hear your own breath
Barely keeping up with your own raging heart

869

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Flying Solo

Dear Manzil,

We did it! You and I have had many adventures on our own! Today, we flew all by ourselves! I'm proud of us, our teamwork, and our sense of adventure! I love you and thank you for being there for me and with me so I didn't have to fly solo!

Love you,
Mamma

868

Saturday, February 10, 2018

February 1 Zero

Treats come in many shapes and flavors
From sleepy sun-soaked snuggles,
Bonus naps, and passion fruit ice cream
To strawberry cake, late night conversations,
And 34 kisses
The biggest treat of them all though...
Time

867

Eve

I hope this eve is filled
With all the promises of tomorrow
For you

866

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Differences

We're the same genre
Even share the same story line
But somewhere after chapter 19
Our plots deviated
Or maybe our main characters
Became more complex,
Mired in their own complex realities
But they both did come of age together
Now
I'm not even sure we find ever be in the same book
It doesn't stop me from wishing
That I was in your page

865

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Yourself

Laughter ensued
Followed by giggles
Dimpled smiles
Filled up the quiet
Of the last few days
It was so nice to see you being
Yourself

864

Eighter

On a Tuesday eight months ago
You became a baby from an embryo
And nothing's ever been the same despite
The occasional sleepless night
Since you were born to us in San Diego!

Eight months since you came out of Mommy
Most days you're pretty balmy
Some weeks though when your new skills form
You go through a tenuous storm
But, hey, it's never been a tsunami!

In the last few weeks you've learned to crawl
And though it may seem a feat so small
We could see how much effort you put in
To build up that core in your body-building
So now you're strong enough to slow your fall!

All that core is helping you play
And set you on lots of new adventures everyday
You're trying to communicate, that's for sure
Even starting to clap to ask for more
And we love how you say, "Mammma" & "Dadday"!

Every morning you sit up, independently playing
Able to stand up and look down at everything
Such a big boy, don't need to be rocked
But you had to wear shoes, because you won't stay socked
Manzil, we love watching you on the go and inspecting !

You love to grab our face slowly
To notice every inch so carefully
You still love munching on your toes
And sometimes we find- your fingers in our nose
And in your belly- khitchadi and ajwain pani!

Now that you crawl, you're always on the go
And you're loving pears, bananas, and avocado
This past month, we made your first sick call
And we're sorry for that yucky mucky Tylenol
You're kicking this virus' butt, and look at you grow!

You've gone from superman, to cat and cow
Your yoga moves make us go, "Wow!"
And we've been noticing lately
You enjoy playing with another baby
Maybe you're over your Momma/Daddy phase (at least for now)?

Here you are on a Tuesday eight months later
Teaching us new words like, "Eighter"
We are so proud of you and to be your parents
And we don't need any further assurance
Because we've known no joy greater!

863

Monday, February 5, 2018

Diaper Excitement!

Dear Manzil,

Like most first time parents, your Mamma and Daddy get very excited about a good poo! Especially after 9 days of diarrhea, it made me jump up and down to see 3 very good looking poos! I was so pleased to note that their texture, consistency, smell, and color (notice the thankful omission of one of the senses ; ) seemed to return to normal. Normal - that's one adjective I have not used in a while to describe the past few days. We've been so worried about you. So sad that you were in discomfort. So upset to see you in pain, shivering with a fever, and confused about what's happening to you. Normal will be slow, I know. But this feels a gazillion times better than even yesterday.

With diaper joy,
Your silly Mamma

862

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Still Not There

It feels farther than ever
The end to this
And it doesn't help at all
To hear
That this is just the beginning

861

Saturday, February 3, 2018

So Simple

Dearest Manzil,

Sometimes the pleasure of laughing
With someone you love
Is so simple
Yet
Sometimes it's one of the hardest things to do
I hope you never have trouble
Laughing with those you love

With laughs,
Your Mamma

860

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Power of Rest

A little bit of rest
Can go a long way
To recovering
And that's what we got today
Some days it's a little
Some days it's a lot
Most of the time time though
It's right on the dot
Not for a mamma or daddy
No, no, there really is
No such thing as too much rest

859

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Permission

Dear Manzil,

I am on a hunt for words
Ways to tell you
You have my permission
You can close your eyes
You can trust that I'll be there when you wake up
You can expect to get a response when you communicate
You can take risks
You can move around safely
You can laugh without care
You can giggle out loud when you want
Or cry as you please
You have my permission, Manzil,
To become the person you want to be

Not that you need my permission (or will wait for it ; ), yours, always,
Mamma

858

Golden

This golden leaf
Hardly could shine
When it's tiny gold roots
Burned inside

857

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

New

Dear Manzil,

Your fevered body shivered in my arms
And yet my heart was fine with so much warmth
All for you
What I wouldn't give to make you feel better.

Always,
Your Mamma

856

Monday, January 29, 2018

Perspective

Dear Manzil,

I messaged your Mashi today saying,
"Help! I'm stuck under a sleep-resistant but finally asleep child who's also pressing on my very full bladder!" This was after four abortive attempts at trying to get you to take a nap. I dream-peed, shifted my expectations, and enjoyed two hours of precious snuggles. This was also after hours of not eating and feeling bone tired, displaced in our own home thanks to bathroom repair work, and knowing a very long solo evening was waiting for me.

Even at the end of a day like this, you never fail to give me new perspectives, make me want to do better, be better...and look at the world differently.

Thanks for that gift!

I love you, always,
Mamma

855

Sunday, January 28, 2018

So Good

Pain
Fear
Tension
There's a cycle there I don't know how to break
I don't even know where to begin to cause some dents
To birth a few cracks
To get to
Understanding
Freedom
Peace

854

Better

Dear Manzil,

It should be more like, better?
Question mark
It's so tricky to know
But what's harder is to trust my instinct
Resist spiraling into questions
Worrying about questions
So many to be asked
Few with answers
Tomorrow, though, will be better.
Period.

Love you,
Mamma

853

Friday, January 26, 2018

Loose

Dear Manzil,

My heart beats awkwardly
In anticipation of what may come
This not-knowing is what
Is stuck between my rows of teeth
Grinding my jaw to a fine paste
I feel around my mouth
Is it my bottom tooth rubbing against my top one
Or the other way around?
Just like my teeth
My worry doesn't have anywhere to go
Except to line itself up in untidy lines
And get ground up.

I know, you'll be okay. Still, I love you,
Suparna

852

Thursday, January 25, 2018

To Larry

One hundred and fifty six
And that's not even close to the number of ways
You can break someone
Not like your favorite fallen cup
Shattered into a million little scars
No
This is like breaking the very letters that make
Why oh you
Whole
This is like shooting an automatic weapon
Through the flesh of the darkest densest sky
And still not seeing a single star shine through
This is like cutting your nails into millimeter sized pieces
While they're still attached to the bloody tips of your fingers
Fingers
Fingers can move, touch, feel this way?
Fingers can break this way?
And then when you're done breaking
You realize there's nothing left inside of you to fix
You're the grimy leftover of forgotten glue
Incapable of holding anything together
Least of all, you

851

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

There are so many

Dear Manzil,

Today was your first time in the trolley
I wanted to show you that
There are so many
Ways to go from one place to the next
As we wandered in and stood about
I wanted to share with you that
There are so many
Different people in this world
When we walk on these paths
We have to learn how to look beyond seeing
Have to learn to listen past the point our ears know how
There are so many
Lenses and voices
I'm learning to do all these too
I'm terrified of all you're touching
But I know it's helping you reach new places
Leaving behind old boundaries of what you know
Which you know will shift, because
There are so many
Places to experience
There are so many
Lives to live
So even when it terrifies you
I hope you take the trolley

There are so many
Words I have to tell you that
I love you,
Mamma

850

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Mistaken Identity

Dear Manzil

Many times, you will make mistakes. Some, you may even repeat. The question really comes down to:

Do you have the humility to admit your mistake?

I hope you always do,
Mamma

849

Monday, January 22, 2018

Risk

If nothing can go wrong
Then is it really a risk?
Or is it just trying something
That flirts with the outer edge of
Your dreams
And the blankets you're tucked under when you see them?

848

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Up Above

The view from there is uncanny
I never felt more low
From up above

847

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Statistically Coincidental

Apparently
Coincidences are statistical
And nothing really happens for a reason
Other than it was going to happen anyway
And it happened because
Of random chances
Incidences
Coincidences came and went
Had their day
And now are conveniently
Out of fashion
Signs are happenstance
Instances
Of could be would've beens
And really nothing truly matters
Except of course
Random coincidences

846

Night Out

Dear Manzil,

Today, I went out
And getting out has never been this hard
Or this easy
All mixed up
At once
And together
Like coffee in milk
Inseparable
All the better

I missed you,
Mamma

845

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Your Smile

Dear Manzil,

I want to capture your smile
I promise, I'd let it go soon after
A smile like yours doesn't deserve to be captive
You make me want to hold on to each moment
Like I've never seen it before
Like I won't see it ever again
But, like your smile,
I must let go
And set free
Every moment

With smiles,
Your Mamma

844

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Roar!

Dear Manzil,

So much to see
So many sounds to bounce to
Which one did you enjoy most today?
Which ones to make tomorrow?

Love you,
Mamma

843

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

I hear you

Dear Manzil,

Today, I woke up to only one functional ear
It made me sad to think
What it would be like
If I could only half-hear you
Then, I got thinking
What would it be like
If I could only half-smell to,
Half-hold you.
Somehow though
I realize how resilient we are
And if that were to happen,
If it is possible,
I would love you double

Love, always, doubly, truly, triply,
Mamma

842

Monday, January 15, 2018

Better

Dear Manzil,

It does get better
Not everyday
Not all the time
And not without effort
But it does get better
With each moment
The harder gets left behind
So does a stronger you
Believe that
Everyday
Each moment

Yours,
Mamma

841

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Some Nights

Dear Manzil,

Some nights are a dense forest
Complex and colorful as they may be
Their new and old
Can be terrifying

Some nights
Even the familiar twigs on trees you swung from everyday
Become agonizing claws reaching for you

Some nights the rustling you hear
Between the babbles of teary streams
Are your own restless dreams
Waiting to be born

Some nights your own shadow
Catches up and beats you into
Forever darkness

On these nights
Gratitude may be hard to locate
On these nights
Fear may be thicker than the heaviest cloud
On these nights
It's more important than ever to
remember
That dawn is just a few hours away

Love you, always, in light and at night,
Your Mamma

840

Saturday, January 13, 2018

I won't always get it right

Dear Manzil,

There's a little voice inside me
That needs to find its volume dial
And turn itself way up high
I wonder if it ever heard itself
What would my voice think?
There's so much it would have to say
Trust yourself
Forgive yourself
You're trying your best
And I just wish I could turn up the volume
So I wouldn't need to hear that from anyone else
I could just turn up the volume
And listen to what's been yelling itself hoarse all this while
I try lot of things
Crying it out to pick up instantly
On-the-go to scheduled to the minute
Sleep anywhere to controlled environment napping
Sippy cups to transition utensils
And there will be a million other things to choose from
And I won't always get it right
But it won't stop me from trying

I love you,
Mamma

839

Thursday, January 11, 2018

My Relationship with Gravity

In the beginning.

It couldn't hold my down down
This gravitational pull had no competition

Falling with no help from gravity
Is a fall so deep
So steep
There's no point in trying to defy it

Tumultuous

Tumbling

Floating would make more sense
If I could just stop myself from sinking

But my relationship
Won't allow it

But in the end.

Gravity wins.
Everytime.

838

Nectar is Juicy

I am not one to pluck things that grow
But today I reached up high and picked
The word
Juicy

From the tallest branch

I turned it around in my hands
And looked at it from the underside and from the left

It almost appeared bigger from one side than the other

It smelled ripe
Maybe even overripe

Telltale signs of overuse and simultaneous neglect
Left it bloody and bruised

I can't decide
Do I want my straw
Or just go at it with my hands
Slurping all of its untidy insides on my outsides

It doesn't matter
It's so very very juicy

837

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

In My Bones

My fingertips protest in silence
The arch of my back bends quietly
My neck won't move in boycott
The weight of my arms falls further down
I feel my exhaustion
In my bones

836

Monday, January 8, 2018

Blaze

You gave me that very last spark
The final strike

I thought I had gotten rid of all the parts of me
that were paper

If most of my insides are water
Why, then, did I burn so brightly?

835

Dream a Dream

I woke up this morning wanting to eat my dream for breakfast
It had that gingery warmth that lingers in your mouth long after you finish your meal
It had heavy tones of hope
And an overarching note of optimism
Those are not my favorite flavors
Those are not flavors that favor me
In my dream whispers of tomorrow
Became flashbacks from days past
And just now felt like kinetic sand
Every grain real and everlasting
In my dream I held my heart in my own hand
It beat to the rhythm of my most beloved song
And as long as the song played, I knew my heart would keep beating
In my dream my feet dug deeper into the earth
Sharing home with the roots of a banyan tree
And no one seemed to care
Which was the end and which the beginning
In my dream all my demons and skeletons
Dance together in ceremonial pomp
And at the end of the night take each other to bed
In my dream distant shores groan in the ache
To join their continental sisters
And leave behind little notes of longing hidden between rocky crevices
In my dream turtles take off their shells
Moving about with drunk whimsy glee
And no one tells them where to go
Or how long before the sun comes up again
In my dream I am only me
In a way that reaches every single molecule of every single cell
Walking in step, swinging hands between them
Knowing that they are what's keeping me going
Keeping me dreaming
It's so tangible now
I don't even have to close my eyes anymore
To taste this life
In my dream

834

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Storm

Some days more than others

Your finiteness storms through

My assumptions and habits

Arriving unannounced, unnecessarily

With the fury of fear-filled exhaustion

Breaking everything in its path

"I've got you," you whisper between my hair

But I looked, you weren't there where you said you would be.

833

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Seven Months

Manzil our sweet baby is seven months old,
and he got bundled up to experience his first real cold.

He went from splashing in water and beach sand,
to holding powdery snow in his teeny tiny hands.

He journeyed through the airport on yet another flight,
to look in awe at all of the holiday lights.

He smiled when he saw his picture hanging on the Christmas tree,
and every morning he still wakes up with glee.

He's improving his grip and now we have witnessed,
him snatching Christmas ornaments like nobody's business.

He's sucking on his socks to soothe the pain in his teeth,
and the only way to stop him is to put shoes on his feet!

And now he's stealing Momma's toothbrush to put in his mouth,
wondering when the rest of his teeth will come out.

He's meeting so many new people, learning to play with other babies,
and practicing being brave when he only wants Mommy and Daddy.

He signs to ask for food, drinks from a sippy cup,
and if you give him cereal, peas, bananas, or sweet potatoes he'll slowly eat them up!

He's scooting so far, to explore explore explore,
and smacking the springy stopper of the door.

Climbing on vents, under tables, in the laundry baskets, and finding wall sockets,
he's got the Mommy-Daddy rescue-me-card in his back pocket.

He's standing up with help, pushing the laundry basket to walk,
investigating the stairs, and using his hands to talk.

He's rolling in both directions, and sometimes on piles of books,
and loves to show off those "only Manzil can get away with this" looks.

Climbing on Grandma and Grandpa, giggling when Daddy tickles him,
singing with Mamma, and sleeping through his fingernail trim.

He'll let you clean him up in the shower in a jiffy,
but he escapes diaper changes better than Houdini.

He loves live music performances from friends,
he is sucking his thumb less,
and teaching so much to his parents,

Manzil, he is definitely the best,
We are loving every single moment!

832

Friday, January 5, 2018

8 Years

Dear Dan,

Eight years since that sunny day
When we danced our way
To a beginning so new
You could smell the vernix off of it
Like these new born days
Those days were filled with
Forgotten expectations
Some degree of unpreparedness
Sleepless nights

Our baby marriage has grown into a
Sweet eight year old
So much that has been taught
And so much still to learn

I wish nothing more than to see our
marriage age into wisdom and grandness

I love you,
Suparna

831

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Good Night, Baby

Dearest Manzil,

Every evening when it's just about time
when you start to get ready to
dream your precious breaths into the night
I feel the day becoming water
slipping through my hands
my fingers grasping at every drop
any drop of the day

There's nothing to hold on to though
the day ends
another day goes by

I'm left with that same yearning
at the end of a vacation

I play back the day in
Black Mirror style
Feel my mouth letting out a little smile
watching you try something for the first time
Sliding on the upturned laundry basket,
pulling yourself up
munching on bananas
playing hide-and-seek with the sun

I don't feel ready to say good night

Some other days
every muscle in me feels wrung
overdried like stale raisins

Those days I grasp at time
like it's the very slippery rock at the very slippery edge of a very slippery cliff
My tired body pulls me down faster than gravity can imagine
I pretend I'm under the surface of the ocean
in Manuel Antonio
with rainbow-colored fish ignoring me
and hugging me all at once

Every inch of me
is ready to say good night

I can't wait to see that barely-two-toothed
smile in the morning

Good night, my sweet baby.

I love you,
Mamma

830

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

I wish I could

Dear Manzil,

I wish I could walk into a room of
people completely different from me and
not want to run and hide

Not want to wish I was white or a man
or skinny or tall or less freckled

Maybe they would mansplain, whitesplain, and body-shame me a little less?

Maybe they'll try to not proclaim how we live in a post-racist non-heteronormative world where fires that consume us are just smokey products of coincidence

Maybe they'll try to not tell me that I am walking on glass floors that used to be ceilings and that mothers want everything and can have it too

Maybe they'll listen when I anger and when I question without needing to tell me I'm
over-caring, over-thinking, over-feeling, over-being, over-asking

I am underwhelmed by their inability to step outside of their privilege
Perhaps it's overwhelming to see that my otherness is so utterly otherly

I wish they would know
I don't have excellent English speaking skills
They have a poor knowledge of history

When they don't know where Mali is
Or that India is in a different time zone
They don't get to tell me that we live in a post-racist not-ethnocentrist United States

If they decided to sit-out their right to vote
They don't have right to tell me global climate change is a hoax

But these dualities are not alone

The world is really very very grey
But that doesn't make mansplaining and gaslighting something that's in your head

And it doesn't make it so you won't do it yourself

Being partially white, assigned male at birth, and born into an educated, privileged family in this city
You don't control

But if you mansplain, whitewash, or choose to not question your privilege
Then, my dear, we need to talk

Because, Manzil,
I wish I could walk into a room of
People completely different from me and
Not want to run and hide

And I wish you never have to experience that

I love you,
Mamma

829

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Unfiltered

Dear Manzil,

I wish I could capture just how
Powerful your mornings are
especially

The moment before you flash
That barely-two-toothed smile at
Me

When the stench of decaying hope keeps me awake or wakes me
Up

Some days all it really takes is you looking at me
Like I have all the answers
But

I know that you know that I'm learning with you
Learning that all it really takes is unfiltered
Joy

To make it through the day

I love you,
Mamma

828

Monday, January 1, 2018

Old Ways

Dear Manzil,

You smell new
Every inch of you
Every moment with you
Oozes newness
Pushing the old out of me
New clothes
New sounds
New perspectives
New mistakes
New challenges
Even as I get older
You make me feel new
And whole

A new year began today
But you woke up just like you did
Yesterday

You still feel new
Your little hand on my heart
Reminds me that it wasn't too long ago
Our hearts beat as one

You are new
Like the pages of a freshly published book
The first line of a poem being read for the first time
The first bite of a warm cookie
You are new

And I'm so new
At giving up my old ways

I love you,
Mamma

827