I think, therefore I write

Tag: Family (Page 1 of 3)

Little things that matter

After the year that was 2020, we didn’t have much plans or hope for 2021. We didn’t plan to break out of our shell anytime soon. But, having a toddler at home and the nanny on leave, Bangalore’s December drove us to different decisions and destinations. After a week’s failed attempt at handling things ourselves, we accepted defeat and ran to our hometown where our parents live.

Amidst the fear and initial shock of the outside world, we were forced to come to terms with the fact that we can only be cautious but cannot force anyone else to follow any form of social distancing or precautions. I agree that we were living on one extreme, not without reason though, and the majority of the world around us was on the other extreme. So this homecoming served as a balancer for us. After a fortnight there and visiting our families there, we came back to Bangalore but I still didn’t feel the pang as my mom came along with us. The plan was that she’d stay for a month. So altogether, we were out of our usual routine for a month and a half. Where did all that time go? Sigh!

After coming back to Bangalore, we were desensitized enough to venture out on our terms with necessary precautions. Our toddler started on the infamous terrible 3s this year and we realized that even if we wanted to, we could not keep her cooped up any longer. When back in Bangalore, she was in her territory and unveiled all of her super powers of throwing a tantrum and melting down, just because she can. On the upside, she had immensely enjoyed the trip – visiting her grandparents’ places, being the center of everyone’s attention, getting to know things outside of the 4 walls that we call home.

After a month that whizzed by, today, my mom left for her place, routine, and life. This time, I did take part in the chores unlike most other times of her visit, when I let down totally and chill. Still, she has such an impact that getting back to the grind hits hard. More than the chores, it is the feeling of being responsible and being a grown-up. Being the pivot of the family at all times. I don’t know how she does it. When she is around, irrespective of how much work I do, she is the pivot. Man, is this how she felt around her mother, whom she lost last year? She never explicitly conveyed the pain of losing her mother and just accepted the fact that her 97-year-old mother’s time to rest in peace had come. But I can understand how the realization, that you don’t have that one person who was your pivot, could be.

It is in the small things that we take for granted – switching off the lights when you forget, ensuring the breakfast is fresh and hot, making sure the bath water is just right for my daughter when she comes back from the playground, keeping my daughter’s attention so that I can cook or attend a office meeting in peace. And more that are so part of the routine, yet sometimes, I’d have to sacrifice and adjust if it is not right. You wouldn’t feel it when it is being taken care of, by someone. It hits you when you are the person who is responsible for each of these and more. I don’t know when I get to visit her place or she can plan to come to our place again . But I know it will be a while to get used to the longing in me and get going. I have a hard time being the grown-up. I do it because I have to but it does not come naturally to me. I often wonder why or how I am not as selfless or as responsible as my mom. I don’t know the answer but I do know this – I can be my own person, I can learn from my mom and I can strive to be the best for my daughter.

Until later πŸ™‚

The struggle is real

November has been a real testing time. In fact, the past 2 years have been about handling what life throws at us. If Adit, my husband, has to face the struggle first hand, I am the half-helpless person who tries to keep things running for him.

Health issues are not new to us. We know that the life of a type 1 diabetic can be as close to normal as possible with ideal control, but it could never be fully normal. Despite what the doctors tell you, when you have to finger-prick at least 5 times a day and get insulin shots a minimum of 3 times a day, you know that you are different and you need a different attitude about life. That’s on a good day. Bad days are like going on a roller coaster ride without nothing to hang on to.

What hits more than the disease itself is a number of factors that include psycho-social acceptance, family support, healthcare costs. Unfortunately for us, the T1D awareness in India is not great and tools that enable a type 1 diabetic to get closer to ideal control are either insanely pricey or unavailable. Families are still not sure how to handle this condition and end up ignoring it and just praying for the best, instead of getting hands on and helping the person to wade through the struggle. We do not need sympathy but actually need empathy and support which we hardly get.

Fortunately though, Adit has me and thanks to our stars, affordability for the health care that is required. Being a primary caregiver for Adit, I learnt what life as a type 1 diabetic entails. I learnt acceptance in the fact that it is not something he chose or could have avoided. It was forced on him and there is no other way than to deal with it. I learnt to help him with his blood sugar readings, plan for better targets, and cook food that suited him even if it has to be bland. I still struggle in some aspects when I am ill or totally exhausted from all the work. At such times, Adit understands. When he does not, I do.

With a toddler who does not know what her father deals with, the problems her working mother faces to keep things going without a proper support system, the struggle is real. We have got no choice but to face it head on.

Inching towards a better me

As the clock slowly inches towards 12 AM, I am stepping towards being another year older and another year wiser. Every year when I think of having done with another year in the calendar, I wonder if I have really gotten wiser. Change doesn’t come that easy to me.

However, this year is a bit different. I realize that I have started accepting myself for who I am, albeit very slowly. For starters, I see that I am more comfortable in my skin. I have started enjoying myself and the choices I make with lesser doubts. I have accepted that I don’t have to like cooking to cook healthy and tasty food for my family and more importantly I have accepted that it is okay to not like cooking. And parenting. When I became a mother, I expected selflessness and sacrifice to come easily. It did not. And there are not many people who feel the same way or are willing to share out even if they feel so. Being non typical fed to my guilt and overthinking. However, I have come to accept that feeling so is just fine.

Being a working mom with a toddler has pushed me in improving myself as a person. I am running so much that I hardly have time for myself. My schedule is like clockwork and depends on a lot of people/things being perfect, say, my babysitter, my maid, my husband, my work, my colleagues, the delivery guys etc. Trying to run a life that demands this level of a perfection with so many factors is terribly exhausting and I just get by. So the sheer frustration of being the primary caretaker for everyone else but me drove me to take steps that I was refusing to.

I have now started dressing how I really want to rather than based on what I want others to think about me. I step out of my comfort zone and experiment and I gotta say, the results are good. My self confidence is increasing with every extra thing I manage and every previously unimaginable thing I accomplish. I am becoming increasingly confident in the fact that I do not need to be protected and that I can be a role model, if need be, to my kid. The number of guilt trips I take have reduced. The number of times I question myself or my decisions have reduced. I am capable of letting go of some things that would otherwise drive me crazy. I have learnt to agree to disagree. I have learnt that my choices may not be acceptable or likeable for others. Today, I truly believe that I can stand and deal the challenges that life gives me. Of course, I will cry, crib and worry, there is still a lot of work in progress, but I believe that I can pick myself up.

Sometimes, I wonder if I am pushing myself too much and there is a bigger cost to all this but right now I feel like it is worth the life I am living today. Being a full time working mother who manages both work and household without a typical support system is not something I ever thought I would be able to do. But here I am! Doing it, living it and having it all. I am not bragging here but I am merely astonished at the fact. It has not been a easy journey, with a type 1 diabetic spouse who needs additional help in managing his health and lifestyle that are otherwise a given for most people, a toddler who is as adamant as her parents put together, if not more, and almost zero support system.

10 years back, I wouldn’t have believed that I’d feel like this ever. But today I am proud of who I am and the life that Adit and I have built. So here’s to a better year that helps me progress and gives me the strength to handle life even better.

Until later πŸ™‚

Cornucopia of social awkwardness

The social aspects and manners that a family typically tries to inculcate in a kid has always astonished me. Welcome a guest by explicitly welcoming them and making a huge fuss about their arrival. Wish each other a good morning. Wish each other on occasions. Make it known that you are delighted at their son making it to the elite university in the US. Make it your business to know what each and every one in your immediate, extended, and even 2 circles beyond extended family does. While I agree some of these are basic manners, I was amused by the artificial charade of it all. I was the kid who would mumble an inaudible welcome and run off to my toys. I was the kid who didn’t understand why one should wish her brother a good morning when clearly they were going to make their mornings miserable for each other by fighting over who gets the bigger share of the omelette. I still am the kid who does not understand why I should make it my business to know what everyone is up to and tell everyone what I am up to.

Don’t mistake me, I am not against socialising and spending family time. But I’d rather it came naturally. Like sitting down with an uncle and talking about how I ditched a class in college to sleep. Like just patting a brother on the back and reminding him that he is getting older than wishing him a very artificial yet happy birthday. Like discovering that cousin is moving to a different country, just by chance. I like that spontaneity. This might be the case in some families, but not mine. So having been deprived of the spontaneity in the relationships that I so crave, I have become the cornucopia of social awkwardness (to quote Sheldon Cooper) when it comes to interacting with relatives.

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That one line

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An advertisement for SBI life insurance greeted me through the pages of The Hindu on a sombre morning. I read through the poem and smiled at the brevity that gets through to the emotional side of readers. But there was one line that glowed red in spite of its inconspicuousness.

But you don’t give in, for your wife too, is part of the journey.

Although that was just one line in the poem, it reminded me of how often I see advertisements that show only male protagonists thinking about insurance for their family. It is as if they are obligated with the task of being the provider even after their unfortunate deaths or other mishaps.

It’s just plain unfair to men. Protecting and providing for a child is a parent’s responsibility, no matter their gender.Β  ProtectingΒ  and making sure your partner is fine when you are no longer around is an emotion anyone can express, no matter their gender. In today’s world, care giving is taken up equally by sons and daughters, wives and husbands. Yet that subconscious conditioning of a male provider and a female care-giver is far from being faded. Such subtle reminders exist everywhere, knowingly and unknowingly, reiterating something that is no longer meaningful. There are gender neutral words – spouse, partner to use but still this ad chose to be gender specific, even if only for a line.

This just shows how far we are to go if we need to break the shackles of conditioning and how much work we have to do if we want to be truly independent of biases. May we all step towards the light at the end of the very long tunnel.

Until later πŸ™‚

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