I’m thankful for the opportunity and challenge of being a mother. I’m thankful that I grew up with a loving mother and that I have a chance to pay it forward. I’m glad I get to feel the love of my children and shower them back with unconditional love. I am able to mold them into the vision of perfection that I have in my mind while making allowances for their personalities and unique abilities. I hope that my shortcomings do not hold us back from that goal. I want them to be good people with faith in God and love for humanity. I want them to work hard and play hard and make their mark on the world. I want them to experience love and have good health. I want them to be safe but not be afraid to take calculated risks in life. I want them to be so much more than I am but I need to give them a foundation of good values, love and security. This is my first challenge as a mother and my second and hardest is to be able to let them go as they grow and find themselves and then love the person they grow into. I miss my cuddly babies but I enjoy my little boys with all their stories and experiences. I’m sure I’ll miss that too as they become detached teens but I’ll love seeing them blossom and have adventures. Each age has its struggles and joys but I’ll do my best and give them my love so they know there is always a safe haven with mom. I’m sure we will hit some bumps along the way since I’m not perfect, but hopefully those won’t be serious. After all, there needs to be something about childhood to complain about to a therapist!
Sad May 10, 2013
What do you do when you’re feeling down?
Don’t feel like going about the town.
Don’t want to lift your head from the bed,
Don’t want to do anything.
Do you give in?
Do you cry and ask Why?
Or do you buck up and keep going?
Keep the positive juices flowing.
Get up and feel strong,
Don’t worry about what’s wrong.
The troubles will go away
Tomorrow, if not today….
What Do You Tell Your Kids About This Scary World? April 19, 2013
I was not ready when my son came home from first grade telling me he learned about the 9/11 attacks and the wars going on. I wanted to shelter my kids from thoughts of such evil in the world for a bit longer but his teacher felt it appropriate to talk about it and have them make cards for soldiers. It was a nice gesture but I still felt they were too young. Recently then, I had to figure out how to discuss the Newtown school shooting with my elementary school aged kids. After all that, this week has been all about the Boston bombings where my kids know their uncle and aunt live. All of this hits too close to home, especially if you take into account shootings at a Sikh temple (our religion) and a movie theater (our favorite past-time). So how does one explain this all to young children?
Well, my kids are old enough to understand the facts about what is going on but I don’t think they really comprehend it. My guess is that they either equate it to the fictional violence they see in movies where superheroes or secret agents save the day. Or, I think they may be just blocking it out of their minds because the thoughts are too scary. It may even be a bit of both. I just feel that my duty as a parent is to make sure I’m there for them to talk about it and to make sure that they know we will try to keep them safe and secure.
I’m glad their fantasies include superheroes or larger than life secret agents because I think it is important to believe that good wins out over evil. I honestly do believe in that too. I don’t think someone in a cape with super-strength will save us but I think that many heroes are born out of these situations. All our law enforcement agents rally and put their lives on the line while many regular citizens go out of their way to help one another. We have seen this in the past and we saw it again this week after the Boston bombings. I made sure to remind my boys that lots of good people went to help victims no matter how tired or scared they were. I need them to focus on the good and the kindness in this world even though they are aware that there is some evil out there as well.
No one can control everything but as parents we try to be vigilant and protect our children as much as possible. Sadly, we can’t always protect them from thoughts and fears and all this violence breeds more fear. I think exposing them to stories of good deeds and nice things helps combat that. The most important thing I feel is to make sure they know they are loved and have a sense of security at home. That way at least home and family are a sanctuary from scary things. So, give your kids a hug and tell them you love them. It’s a simple win over all the fear and evil in the world!
The New India April 12, 2013
When I was growing up, India, the country of my heritage was considered a third world country. The India that my kids are growing up seeing is a whole different place, however. So much has changed in a few decades. I was really impressed by most of the new developments that I noticed during my recent trip.
We still took anti-Malaria drugs and only drank bottled water while we were there but most other things felt similar to the west. There were American restaurants, products and shops everywhere. The fashion trends were more parallel than in the past. There was tons of construction of new malls, cineplexes, and highways. With the increase in foreign businesses and tourism, many things catered to more than just the locals. It was really impressive to see the massive growth in such a short time. After all, India only gained independence from the British in 1947. After years of oppression and now a partitioned country as well, they struggled to get back on their feet.
Many people in the past, like my parents, had left India to gain better opportunities in the US. This was the land of growth and opportunity. I still believe it is but now with all the globalization and changes in India, that has become a land of opportunity as well. Many more recent immigrants from India are actually choosing to move back. For people like my parents, this is not an option since they are now more American than Indian and lived here for much longer than in India. However, for many new immigrants who came purely for job opportunities, moving back to family and their home sounds great if the jobs are similar.
There are still a lot of problems in India too, as with any country. Even though there are people with way too much money, there is rampant poverty as well. There is also a lot of corruption and bribery that goes on at every level. Bribing policeman and government officials seems to be a regular part of doing business. Where people can be bought like that, rules and regulations are often bypassed leading to dangerous outcomes. This is when we hear about buildings collapsing because the builders got away with using poor materials or adding unauthorized floors.
I was also disappointed in the lack of community feeling and responsibility. Each person, rich or poor, is only concerned with their own family and not what is going on around them. Or, there are some who recognize issues but don’t make changes because they feel like their changes wouldn’t make a difference in the larger problem. With such a large population of talent and resources, there is so much potential if people had more of an attitude of working together for the benefit of the community and country. Instead I heard of politicians selling public lands to grease their own pockets. There was also no sense of concern for the environment but I guess it has taken the West a long time to change on that front as well.
I guess every country goes through growing pains and has downfalls after successes. We have seen plenty of that in the US as well. Though, I still consider myself a proud American at heart, I was very happy to see all the progress in the country of my heritage and extended family. I was proud to take my kids there and show them what they come from. It also felt nice that they have the impression to pass on to their friends that India is a country of riches and luxury. That is quite a change from the India we visited as kids. Regardless of the monetary changes though, I was happy to see that a lot of the cultural and family values haven’t faded too much. My kids received the same warm welcome and love that I used to get and I’m sure they would love to visit again!
Rekindling Relationships April 3, 2013
I recently visited my extended family in India after many years and it made me realize how important it is to rekindle relationships with loved ones. Especially with family, you can easily take relationships for granted, feeling like they will always be there. However, relationships of any type require effort and attention to flourish. You may continue to be related by blood and maybe some sense of duty but without the effort, the feelings will fade.
This is why I wanted to make sure that I took my husband and sons to visit the relatives we had not seen in over 5 years. When we last visited, my boys were quite young and though they had a great time, they do not remember that trip. Some friends here have a surprised reaction that I value these connections with cousins, aunts and uncles who I only saw every few years at best. I guess we all connected well and shared enough love and memories that sustained us during the absence. I wanted my kids to enjoy the same feelings and get a chance to build their own connections. I think we succeeded.
Whether it be with friends or family, we should make the effort to reconnect now and then. I do believe that when you have a strong relationship with someone you can reconnect easily even when you don’t speak or meet regularly. However, if there has been a long disconnect, we should try to send a note, talk, or visit. This serves to remind both parties that the relationship is still important and has not dwindled. This communication will work to strengthen the bond. Of course life is busy and with so many people in our lives it is hard to regularly communicate with all but now and again we should get in touch. In the meantime, social media helps us connect on a superficial level!
Oscars 2013 February 25, 2013
Last night was my favorite awards show, the Oscars. I love the Hollywood glamour, the excitement, and of course the celebration of the best movies and artists of the year. Last night did not disappoint. Though I didn’t know much about the host, Seth MacFarlane, I was pretty impressed. He could sing, dance, tell jokes, and he wasn’t bad to look at either. I know some people complained that his humor took things too far but what did people expect from the guy who made Ted and Family Guy. I wasn’t thrilled with all of it either but overall he kept us interested.
The theme celebrated music in movies and that was fun to watch because it felt like a Broadway musical at times. It was impressive to see actors sing and dance so well. For instance, I did not know that Charlize Theron was such a good dancer. The group numbers from Les Miserables and Chicago were very good as well and Adele was amazing as usual.
Everyone looked amazing on the red carpet as well. Some of my favorite gowns were worn by Jennifer Lawrence, Jennifer Garner, Zoe Saldana, and Naomi Watts. Some of these looks were delicate and princess-like while others were edgy and futuristic. They were all done well. A couple of looks that I did not like were Helena Bonham Carter’s who loves to dress bizarrely and Kristen Stewart who looked sloppy. As for the men, I thought Hugh Jackman looked great sporting a beard and wearing a Tom Ford tuxedo. I noticed many of the men kept beards last night and they all looked very handsome.
As for the actual awards, Life of Pi took more awards than I expected and even the best director went to Ang Lee. I expected Steven Spielberg to take that honor. The best lead actor and supporting actor went to Daniel Day Lewis and Christoph Waltz, both of whom gave great speeches. Supporting actress Oscar went to Anne Hathaway as most people expected, for her intense role as Fantine. Jennifer Lawrence won the Oscar for best actress which was great barring her tripping on the way to the stage. I guess that lovely gown had its drawbacks. Argo won best picture and I do think it deserved that honor. It was up against some amazing films but that one had emotion and also kept you on the edge of your seat. I know the Oscars don’t generally go to the movies with the widest appeal but this time I think it did. Lincoln was incredible but some people thought it was a bit long and slow. Life of Pi had a fantasy appeal that I enjoyed but it would be an unusual choice. Silver Linings Playbook was a great film as well but I don’t think it had the big screen draw of Argo. Django Unchained was one of Tarrentino’s best in my opinion but his style is too over the top for the Academy it seems. I didn’t watch the other nominees yet but loved all the nominated movies so far! 2013 seems like it is going to be full of superhero sequels and blockbusters so let’s see what Oscar-worthy films sneak in for next year’s awards.
Grade School Valentine’s February 14, 2013
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! V. Day has been all about my kids this year. We had to make cute handmade Valentine treats for all my younger son’s friends and I got store-bought Dark Knight Valentines with pencils for my older son’s friends. It was all very important and exciting for them. I was happy to help them since it seemed very sweet and innocent and was all about friendship at this age. There is no heartache or anxiety about potential romances yet.
Today I was at my fourth grader’s school to help the other PTO moms organize and distribute the Valentine pretzel-grams. This is a sale where the kids can purchase a pretzel for themselves or any friends and on Valentine’s day that person receives a surprise pretzel-gram with a personalized message. We went through a few thousand pretzels today since some kids received multiples. I saw one child get a bag of 14 and a teacher was gifted 20 pretzels! First of all I don’t know what any one person would do with that many pretzels but I guess it is the thought that counts and not the wasted food. Then, ‘the thought of it’ got me thinking and feeling bad for those kids who for whatever reason may not have received any pretzels. Even if it may not have mattered to them otherwise, I’m sure they would feel bad when a fellow classmate is receiving 14 pretzels. It just becomes a popularity comparison for some and kids’ self-esteems are vulnerable. I asked some of the organizers about this and they said that it had become an issue in the past so this year the vice-principal will be sending one pretzel-gram to each child who did not get one and they will receive it in the same delivery. I thought this was a nice gesture. I suppose the popularity comparisons can still go on but at least there is no child left without a treat.
Valentine’s Day can be an extravagant day of gifts and romance for some but for others it can be a depressing day that reminds them of what they are missing. For me it is just a day to remind me to acknowledge and appreciate my husband and the two little men in my life. I also don’t mind that this holiday celebrates one of my favorite things… chocolate! I hope that my kids can enjoy Valentine’s day for many years before the pressure or cynicism about it sets in. I hope that their friends or I can be their Valentines and they get joy from that. Hopefully they don’t get caught up in the popularity aspect of it as they grow. Today however, I will spoil them and enjoy them and thank Hallmark or whoever invented Valentine’s Day!