I think, therefore I write

Tag: Family (Page 1 of 3)

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 🙂

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.  Protecting  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 🙂

The answer to my questions

Every time you smile, I realize how blessed I am.

Every time I hug you, I realize how gifted I am.

Every time I inhale your baby smell, I realize how happy I am.

Every time I crib about being tired, I realize there are a lot of people who would give anything to be this tired for this reason.

Every time you rub your face against mine, I realize heaven is not impossible.

I asked myself a hundred times, why do I want to have a baby? I never knew the answer before but now I do.

You are the answer to my questions. I might have a million of them but you answer them in a million ways. Ways that I could never comprehend until you show me. Ways that would seem highly impossible until you show me.

I have always considered providing and taking care of a family to be the biggest challenge and yet, the biggest achievement of my life. And I had thought I had done it even before you came along to show me that there’s more. You showed me I can do more when I thought I couldn’t. Just like your dad. You both push me to greater heights when I myself have given up and settled. And I don’t often remember how blessed I am to have that. To have help to realize your purpose in life. But when I do remember, it overwhelms me so much that I am at a loss of words. So here’s a thank you. Thank you for everything.

I hope that someday you read this and realize how much I love you and how grateful I am to have you.

Until later 🙂

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