Saturday, August 31, 2013

Feeling Like A Couple Again After the Kids

M and I got to spend a solid four hours together today. It feels good!
At Monterey today, my dear mom took A to the Monterey Bay Aquarium for a few hours. M and I passed lest with the little angel our time would be spent attending to her. Instead, we walked the Cannery Row for a few times.
We started the walk chatting about a couple hurts, acknowledging them and clearing our minds for only 5 minutes or so.  Then we strolled around; window shopped a bit, tried some sea salt taffies, had a marvelous Cappuccino at the Happy Girl's Kitchen, and bought a couple souvenirs.  After a few hours I realized we had not talked about A, had attended to the baby only a couple times, and mostly had spent our time being together; we were simply a couple again.  It felt as if we hadn't had such time for a long long time and suddenly it felt really refreshing.
Funnily as soon as we united with my dear mom and A all the cajoling and A talking resumed. That made the past few hours as a couple even bolder, more precious.  I feel charged up for a while now. Feels great actually!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Best in Town

He did it, starting a business I mean, from scratch and with very little monitory investment albeit huge stamina.
I feel proud of my brother.
He was always full of ideas. Many people are perhaps. But his ideas were big yet achievable. As I watched him grow and the years passed, I witnessed how he was getting closer: in the end 1) he knew what he wanted to do and could explain it 2) he seemed to know how to do it 3) he seemed to know he could do it.
Now he started a new business despite all the hurdles. He showed flexibility when hardship surfaced. He showed perseverance when things failed. And he showed leadership by guiding the village to raise his baby business. I am sure it is the best in town.
Now, he is looking at the next business and I know he can do it. So very proud of him!

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Real Taste or the Taste of Real

Suddenly I had both kids kind of sick. The little angel had her two-month-check-up and had to take a slew of vaccines which made her completely drowsy for about 6 hours. Then when I picked up A from school I realized he was not his usual self either. He said he had not eaten nor did he play at lunch, because he missed us he said. But I knew there was something wrong with his well being.
At home I monitored both kids for a few hours regularly and thank God neither developed fever. They just remained drowsy and energy less.
While laying lazily on the couch, A asked for the same soup I had made him last time he was sick. And so I did. Then I decided to bring down the big bulky juicer and make him some "fresh" apple juice. The kind that always reminded me of my childhood when my mom made us fresh juice. The kind with a natural froth that made mustaches for us. I felt delighted to make fresh juice for A actually.
After he took a sip he put the apple juice aside. He claimed that it didn't taste like the ones from store! So he didn't like it!!
Ah! My broken heart.
I said "yes honey. It doesn't taste like the store-bought juice. It's "fresh"!"

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

How to be a Perfect Mother

"I know she loves me because she kisses me every time she leaves the house". This is what A wrote in the card he made for me at school for the Mother's Day this past May.  Interestingly, despite the nagging feeling of guilt, "leaving the house" wasn't of any guilt-worthy thought in him.  More interestingly, I know I kiss him every time I leave him because of me, not because of him really.
Talking to A today about simple subjects of the day, I realized, despite the imperfect nature I naturally possess, what radiates the perfect love to my kids is being "present" with my loving them. To simply love them for me, in my own way. To really see them, hear them, feel them, and cherish it all in my heart. To really watch A when he tells me that he swam in the 8 feet section of the pool today, to see my little angel when she eagerly suckles the milk, to simply listen to A when he tells me about his day dreams, to eagerly memorize the cooing noise the little princess makes.  To be with them when I am with them.  They feel it!
Moreover, it is the quality of life I live and they witness that is keenly obvious  to them, that they will remember when they think of their childhood later in life. As Alison Tate wrote in Huffington Post blog, "What our children will remember about us is how we lived our lives, how we worked, what we loved, and how we shared that love".
I hope to, and pray to God to help me, be present in my life and in my loving my kids. I strive to really give them my full attention every moment I spend with them. I endeavor to "be".  I think this is the main and simple and most innate way to prove my love to my kids. I hope they attest to my love for them when they think of me for all the Mother's Days to come, whether or not I am with them.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Happy Wet Feet

By The Pacific Ocean
November 2007

By The Pacific Ocean
August 2013
He is growing too fast.

"Rome, Tehran, Tokyo"

In an ad campaign for Hilton Hotels, "Magnificent cities" was the description used by Don Draper for Rome, Tehran, and Tokyo in the same sequence in Mad Men, Season 3, Episode 9. 1963.
2013. Exactly 40 years later, and there is no more any Hilton Hotel in Tehran.  In fact, who would think about vacationing in Tehran except for Iranians and some very rare tourists?  Who would put magnificent and Tehran in the same sentence? How often would one think of Rome and Tehran at the same time?
Alas! I can't stop but wonder how the world could be if there still was a Hilton Hotel in Tehran. Perhaps I was still living there, just blocks away from  my beloved mom and sister. Perhaps the sky of the cities in the land of Persia was still blue and not hazy with dust. Perhaps Iran was listed in the drop down menu of Expedia. Perhaps my kids could read and comprehend Ferdowsi's poem yet I was not reciting it in my head dozens of times every day:
دريغ است ايران كه ويران شود
كنام پلنگان و شيران شود
Alas if Iran is destroyed
Alas if Iran is housed by leopards and lions

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Midnight Mocha

A late night hot dark chocolate added to an earthy South African coffee with extra foam, listening to the sound of waves crashing on the beach.
It feels safe and serene; kids tucked in their beds in the rooms not far from the porch. He is not too far either, just fast asleep drifting in his lala land.  His skin is hot and smooth covering his manly limbs.
She doesn't mind staying up the whole night, watching the midnight sky, listening to the ocean, and writing in her notebook.
Once upon a time there was a girl who wanted to travel far and explore wide. She started from Barcelona.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Notes from A Woman with A Bump: Loving the Emptied Bump

I just realized how hard I was to and how thankful I am for this empty bump. And I owe it to Grace.
I attended a Yoga for Moms class the other night. I invited my mother to go with me.  After a long time I got to leave home sans bebe for two full hours and frankly, it was a blessing by itself.  I missed my babies dearly by the time I was driving back home while I left anxiously yet happily the second my car was off the driveway.
I hadn't practiced yoga for a good 9 weeks.  The last time I went to a prenatal yoga class I was so big I couldn't see my toes and my chest didn't have much room to breathe.  It was good to be allowed to do some moves laying on my belly after a long while.
It was particularly great that everyone there were moms: tired, worried, grateful, overwhelmed, open, and needing the company of others, and needing to focus on their body for an hour or so.
It was a blessing to have Grace as our instructor. It was the first time I met her but I could tell she was a genuinely graceful person from the way she welcomed me and my mother to her class.  She was considerate and focused.  It was indeed a nice yoga practice through her guidance.
Then something unexpected happened: during the savasana, the end meditation session, she asked all to put one hand on their heart and one on their belly and feel the breath laying down on their back. So far the routin. Then after a few moments she asked the moms who recently had given birth to put both hands on their belly and give thanks to the empty space housing our babies for 9 months. She brought our attention to this void, noted how we carried our babies in this space the same way our mothers carried us and how their mothers carried them. How this lineage went back in time.
Feeling the empty bump, I found tears coming down my cheeks; I felt like really crying. I was oblivious to this seemingly obvious fact let alone being thankful for it.
Now, I am thankful to this emptied bump!

Monday, August 12, 2013

All She Left

She ordered a cup of coffee and sat down.  It was a calm afternoon.  No calls, no texts, no posts.  She didn't check her emails all day.
The coffee was bitter, exactly how she liked it.  She added just a couple drops of milk and stirred, watching the dark brown turning into milky brown swirls of coffee and milk.
She was looking forward to her afternoon drink at the local cafe, yearning the smell of coffee most of the day that day.  Now she earned it; waiting.
Soaking in the aroma, she sipped her drink savoring the taste.  It was a dense drink.  Full of colors even though looking like just a bland cup of coffee to the naked eyes.
She closed her eyes briefly taking a deep breath.  Then, she opened her smart phone and paused a few moments.  There was a forbidden world out there.  The forbidden heart.  Back to reality.  She locked it again.
She got up and walked out the door, leaving the finished cup of coffee and all that was left on the table.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Mothering Two - And the Reality Hits

I am the mother of two.
I suddenly feel very grounded.  Tethered even?
Interestingly M has a similar feeling.
In fact it hit me the other day, watching M holding the little angle in his arms and cajoling with A on a matter. Arms full. Mouth full of words. Attention too focused.  It was intense to watch.
I suddenly find hardly any time for me, any time for the house, any time to think or concern about others I so dearly care for.  Any time to read.
It took me forty some days to get to this conclusion. May be it was not as intense earlier. May be I was most focused on one thing: the little angel, and not A as much, let alone the house and other matters. But now, with the new school year approaching, all the programming for his extra curricular activities and shopping for school and wondering about his new teacher and classmates suddenly hit hard, in addition to all things baby and the untidy house and missed calls.
For any simple outing I have to pack two bags now and I have to remember everything yet I will forget something.  The last thing I think about is me.
Knowing me, it will become a routine soon, I have no doubt, to pack two bags and not forget anything I mean. Yet, I wonder if I will ever be able to think about me again, all my dreams, all the new and old  places I like to visit, all the people I wish to be with.
Frankly, I can't think about it too hard right now. I better get ready for this Saturday's outing while the little one is taking a nap lest I will miss the short window of opportunity.  As Scarlet O'Hara would say, I will think about it tomorrow (so unlike me)...

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Employee Appreciation Unified

Today we got invited to M's employees and families appreciation BBQ party.
His company, a high-tech company in the silicon valley, does this every year. Inviting the immediate family of the employees to enjoy an afternoon of foods and fun for kids with clowns and water slides and face paintings and balloons and all.  This year was the first time that I got to attend with M, thanks to maternity leave.  Soon after my arrival I saw one of his colleagues who was happy to have seen their CEO. He described how when he was in the line of food he saw him at the booth serving the employees. He said he didn't recognize him at first but soon he did. Also, he said he was happy to see him conducting such service.
It appeared like a "trend" to me; the executive managers serving the employees I mean.  The reason why is because our company does the similar thing.
In our company, a medical device company, a few times a year we have employee appreciation BBQ, albeit to a way lesser degree but may be more frequently. After conquering major milestones, our company throws an employee BBQ in which, as of late, the executive management serves the employees for the first half an hour or so.  The recency of such conduct makes me think this is a new trend of the business.
Another interesting observation is how our divisional president is so available and so accessible that no one would exclaim to get to meet him. But of course our division is a fraction of the mother company. May be to compare with the evidence experienced by M's colleague today we must have our CEO serving the troop. Still, I'm glad for the leanness of our division and grateful for the presence of our president.

Walking the Past

She knew she had to leave.
It hurt to stay. It hurt to watch the unfolding of every moment. Every second was inspired by what went. To stay was to relive it every day.
She started walking away. Hoping for a fresh start somewhere, anywhere but not here.
But anywhere she looked was a reminder. A sweet reminder with bitter thoughts. It was hopeless.
She took a deep breath with her eyes closed. Made a few prayers pleading for a clean start accepting the past. Even cherishing it. And walked into the future.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Few Month Itch

I need to travel.  The last time I was away was in April.  I miss it.
The the joy and anxiety in packing a suitcase, the hustle and bustle of the airport, the possibility of having a drink in an unknown locale, the thrill in driving a new road, the anxiety of sleeping in a strange room, the oddness of finding a spectacular bargain in a most unexpected place, the excitement in trying new dishes, the newness, the expectation in meeting old friends reciting in yet another foreign place, the strolls in exotic promenades.  I miss it.
At to my dear amusement so does my little A.  He said the other day that he was yearning to fly in an airplane again.  Then, the other night, when I told him about our upcoming trip next week, he shouted "finally!  SFO again".  And then was profoundly sad when I told him it was going to be a car trip not more than 5 hours away.
I was pondering again how my main motif to work, first and foremost, is the ability to travel and to vacation with family.  I would be delighted to find my little angle is also one day yearning for travel as much as A does and as much as I do.
A and I en route to Edmonton, AB - June 2012
A in cockpit

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Note from A Woman With A Bump: The Remaining Bump

I have been thinking, wondering how my body looked and felt before I got pregnant for the first time.  I do not remember much.  What I do remember is how I was critical toward it, not much appreciative or pleased with it, not much enjoying it.  Now that body is gone for ever.
Getting pregnant has taken my body through a tremendous journey of changes.  The most drastic change since puberty for sure.  Looking back, I realize that I did not cherish my body through puberty.  I was not feeling comfortable with the changes; so I just closed my eyes on it. Now I fantasize about the memory of it, yearn it, perhaps even mourn it sometimes.
Then, while still ignorant and critical, suddenly pregnancy happened.
Getting pregnant makes the body femininely beautiful.  The glowing skin, the undoubtedly growing belly that houses a precious new being.  It is mysterious.  The body is the center of attention during pregnancy as soon as it starts to show.  There was absolutely no urge, may be for the first time since puberty, to look thin.  It was surprisingly enjoyable to change clothing to the larger sizes.
Yet, after the delivery and when the body was drained of all the excessive liquids, it was left with an empty, loose, sagging, fat tummy.  An aching body incapable of many of the movements it could endure before pregnancy.  A hunching shoulder under the pressures of nursing.
There was not much I could do about all the changes.  I was taken through the journey.  It feels as if I had lost control over it all.  It seems as if I am left with a useless wardrobe and no desire to spend on new larger size cloths.
Now my body and physical appearance are in the baby's shadow, or so I wish!  An acquaintance of mine who had not seen me for a year or so told me the other day "oh my dear! you look fat!"  I sometimes feel I am struggling.  I cannot afford looking like this for ever.  This lost control insults my willpower.  I am losing weight and little by little getting back to some of my baggier yet tegular cloths; yet it is funny how that growing body was gaining more attention than this thinning body.  There are friends (and celebrities) who claim to have lost the "baby fat" in three weeks!  Boasting their bodies in tight pants and fitting dresses carrying the few months old baby.  It feels as if there exists a subliminal competition match.  All the pressure!
Looking fit is not all trend, indeed it is maintaining a healthy body to allow cajoling with all the responsibilities of motherhood.  I have not resumed my regular exercises so there is hope.  And of course I wont ever trade a hair of either of my kids for a pre-pregnancy body.  But oh!  Do I wonder!