Shuba’s Weblog

Journeys of the soul…

Changing selves…changing relationships…

I have often thought about this question: do we change with time? Is there an essential part of us that stays the same? When I visit India and see old friends, I’m often told that I haven’t changed at all. And yet, I also know that like a new haircut or a way of dressing, there is always change on the outside, but also on the inside. To me it feels like every experience we have, every person with whom we have a meaningful interaction, changes us in some way. When I think back on my own life, I can point to not just the people who have come and gone and changed me in some way, but also to specific experiences connected to those people, that have remained with me. It sometimes feels to me like I am a screen on which experiences pass through like a movie, but I as a screen also change and evolve in color and texture.

Obviously, the most significant people in my life have changed/transformed me the most. I know that my own choices in relationships have made me who I am today, every step of the way. My partner, my daughter, my closest friends have made me who I am, or maybe MORE of who I am even as I become more of them! But then also are the people who come into our lives not by choice, but by chance or without choice. These people, close family members, room mates, neighbors, people we have seen everyday at some point in our life, too change us, impacting us in ways we can never expect, more so perhaps than the people we choose to have in our life. This ME is colored by all of these experiences, and relationships…

I think of friends from the past, their sweet contributions to my self, moments shared over joy or despair, camaraderie or friendship, a friendly acquaintance or a deep relationship. I think of friends who are no longer in my life but have somehow changed the direction that my life was headed, like a river that is gently moved to a slightly different path. I think of friends who have provided that helping hand without expecting anything in return, during sickness or a crisis; during a rough spot or a smile on a difficult day. I think of the amazing thing about serendipity. Do we attract the people in our lives? Or do they arrive perhaps sent by a guardian angel somewhere looking out for us, giving us a chance on change, on possibility, on trying a different experience than we have been used to…

I think of the unexpectedness of it all. Bumping into a familiar face after a long time and how that can literally change the course of our lives. (That has happened to me, with one of my closes friends!). I do believe, every person in our life has a role to play, somehow, sent at just the right time, to be there in some way that we perhaps cannot comprehend. Sometimes, other stuff (like our own issues!) get in the way, but ultimately, every moment offers the potential for newness, of rediscovering ourselves in ways we cannot know, cannot conceive or imagine, and of appreciating the mystery and possibilities in life. Even when experiences are unpleasant, we do learn something; if nothing else, we can always learn compassion!

May we continually remind ourselves to be present and open to all that unfolds in life. Here is to embracing all of our experiences and gratitude for all the people who have touched us with their love and friendship!

With love, S.

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Old and new…

Writing from Tuckerbox during winter break! It feels like months or years since I have been here, and it probably has been! The coffee shop has expanded and now offers Turkish breakfast and lunch in addition to American staples. I like the familiarity of the seat by the window overlooking the train station, and I also like the newness of being waited on instead of ordering at the counter. New versus old: I think I just found the theme of this post!

Here is what is old and familiar in no particular order:

• Anjali is still our alarm clock for the day. Now 6 years old, she wakes us up every morning with calling out the time (6.14 am today!), and climbing into our bed to snuggle. It’s our cozy time of the day. I remember a lifetime ago, fighting to get up earlier to have some time to myself. Nowadays, I have no such qualms. I love snuggling, being in between sleep and wakefulness and grabbing those few extra minutes of hugging a warm body before beginning the day. Especially when it is the first day of winter break!

• We live in the same house that we have lived in now for nearly nine years. The view from Anjali’s room shows the sun streaming through the clouds above the trees in the horizon. The snow has nearly melted after yesterday’s warmth, but not quite. The view has been familiar for as long as I remember being in this room – and yet as I look around the room, I notice how much has changed. There are snuggly toys in every corner of the room, books strewn in different places (in various nook places that Anjali sets up for herself), pencils, markers, and smaller toy figures at various places on the floor. The room of a growing, creating, book loving, BIG on cuddle toys child that Anjali is.

• As I come down the stairs, on the dining table is the recorder that Anjali has been learning to play (new!). It’s a busy morning – we are looking for the wand, for the wizard camp that Anjali is off to this morning. Abhi saves the day by reminding us that something fell under the piano last night. Lo, and behold, the wand is found and peace is restored.

• Pulling into art gallery this morning is familiar, as Anjali has done camp here before, most recently last summer. And yet, all the children have probably grown a few inches taller. The teacher looks happy to see familiar faces and I imagine, that she marvels at their growth. On my drive back, I think of how the teachers would feel if a kid stops coming to camp the next year. Would they notice? Would the child be missed? I don’t imagine that when people move, they would write to their camp teachers that the children will not be coming to the camp anymore. I make a mental note to do that, if we ever move. Though perhaps that is the last thing on one’s mind when you are moving! Why wait to move? Maybe I will write a note today – just saying how much appreciate the art camps Anjali has been coming to.

• I notice how hard it is to write about what is different. There are so many small things that feel different – but would they count? I wonder. Like taking care of my skin again, especially my face and going for a facial sort of regularly. Its something I never had to before! I was mostly blessed with good skin and did minimum of maintenance. But now, as I grow older, my skin needs a little bit more loving care and I feel so good doing it!

• Being back at dance class again is new! Making it to class regularly once a week (5 weeks now!) feels like a huge accomplishment – it means that I have made a choice once a week to take sometime to do something I enjoy and love and that is good for my body! I don’t know why this is so hard to do, when it seems pretty easy to make the choice to do music or skating lessons for Anjali ! I realize that some of it is that I love routine. I genuinely love sitting to dinner with my family and eating together. I love bath time and reading books with Anjali and the predictability of the routine. I give up both of them but just for the day!

• Getting back to date nights (or rather, movie dates!) is new. Having one-on-one time with Daalu more regularly feels like entering a new phase in the ‘parenting’ journey somehow! This weekend we watched the movie Lion. Really nice movie with a wonderful uplifting ending. We saw Hidden Figures a couple of weeks ago, which I absolutely loved and didn’t expect to be so good! and told all my students to go watch (a wonderful intro to factoring and the usefulness of Euler’s method – If you can’t tell yet, I am a math teacher! ). Date night is possible mainly thanks to a wonderful sitter whom Anjali adores.

• Ice-skating is new. Anjali started skating lessons in the fall and watching her progress inspired me to try skating. While I am still pretty slow, it feels amazing to try something new, and to skate with Anjali, even if only for short bursts of time (she is so much faster than me! )

There are some things I would like to try this year, inspired by my friend Maribel, who though no longer physically with us, continues to inspire me to live life without fear and embrace every new experience that comes along the way:

New recipes, new places to visit, to see more movies outside my comfort zone, read more books, make it to a retreat, feel more beautiful, make new friends, cherish old friends, choose forgiveness whenever possible, say No to guilt, appreciate others when possible and be kind and have fun and be silly and not fit into a box and dance more often!

With love to you!
S.

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Changing desires…

It is a beautiful spring day. Yes, spring is here! finally! The leaves are coming out of the ground and the first flowers have appeared in our compound. The breeze is blowing and there is promise of warmer weather and long summer days yet to come. Ahhhhh. I love this feeling, of change and new life and moving ahead.

I have also been amazed at the shifting of my desires. About a month ago, I was sure I needed to find a job that was more than my very part-time teaching math at community college, and that needed to be now. it turns out what I needed was a change – and when a weekend materialized in the form of time away from home, it served the purpose! Just one night away with family in beautiful Burlington, VT – we all felt restored and my mind felt quieter than it had been for a while. Its a good lesson to learn: sometimes we need a change – but it doesn’t have to be a life-altering one like getting a new job! Before we make the life-changing ones, can we try the smaller ones?

This is also the first school break that I have asked for help in the form of child-care and it has felt simply wonderful to allow myself a break. Life feels so much more spacious when you have had a hot chocolate on your own in a cafe without having your toddler around! I’m also learning an important shift in my own perspective – that much as I love being a Mom and its who I am most of my day, it isn’t personal. It has its amazing rewards as well as challenges and learning, and at the end of the day, it is still what I bring to it. And I bring attention and care to it when I take care of myself. What a good lesson! One that I keep relearning and discovering and every time feels like the first time!

Whats interesting to me is that when we pause, when we take a step back, we can actually witness the moving of our desires – how they keep changing, morphing into new shapes and sizes. We are tempted to respond to each one, but we don’t always have to. if we simply watch, they will shape-shift. and it gives us such insight into our own minds, our patterns and where we react and when. What our triggers are. I know what some of mine are, which make me reactive and my mind go nuts. exhaustion, doing too much, too many expectations (that are unrealistic), bank balances, and not knowing. And I’m coming to see their cycles, and learning to see them pass by and learning not to react and learning what kindness is and connecting to my deepest heart’s desires.

I would love to hear yours. send me a message or post a comment on this post.

with Love, S.

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That wild, that loving in the heaven of earth…

I’m thinking this morning of the Mary Oliver poem on Luke. I’m driving gudiya to the preschool she goes three mornings a week. I’m singing the Illayaraja’s ‘Kanmani’ song to her, and feeling generally uplifted. And all the thoughts – the weighing of the good and bad in my life and its various variations disappear. Poof. Just like that.

The reason my life has come into review this week is because I have a job interview this afternoon, my second one with this imaging research group. The position is for a research analyst and is reminiscent of my graduate student days – before I got mired into the world of writing grants, and managing students – and gave it all up to be home more with gudiya and to keep my sanity. At my previous interview with the group, they asked me, why would you apply for this staff position, given your CV? My only answer was that I wanted to do just research without all the responsibilities that a faculty job involved. That is part of the truth. The real truth is that my life as a Mom has plenty of responsibility in it. I don’t want to seek more – not of my own volition.

But am I ready to go back into work? This involves a full-time job and I am sure I don’t want that. “But you could work 30 hours a week” – chimed in my whatever-you-want-to-hear-dearie mind – if they would be amenable to that. I am not sure I want that either. But then gudiya starts school this Fall – Montessori – and I am scared at the thought of my life passing by while I wait for her to be back from school. I can think of all kinds of rationalizations, but really I am feeling the urge to move, to change, even as I am scared to death about it. I love my life as it is, part of me exclaims. Not yet, not already!

Anyways, as I am singing kanmani after dropping off gudiya, memories of my college days flash by. They were among the favorite days of my life. I have had the most incredible friends who saw through me and accepted me and loved me. So many dear friends come to mind. I was lucky to meet many amazing people. We had fun times and I have been meaning to share old photos from those days on FB. They have been out and about in our living room – I have been showing them to gudiya, but mostly just enjoying seeing them myself.

And this thought hits me as I am reminiscing and driving: we did not know then – in those carefree college days – that it would not last. We would never have that time again – the time when we were young, without responsibilities, of fun and flirting, and of discovering our own selves through our new-found relationships. If we had known, would we have appreciated it more?

And what about now? Here is another phase in my life that is pretty amazing. To have the time and make the choices to be able to witness the growing miracle of my daughter – and my husband as a Dad – and to discover what it is like to be young again – and what it is like to play. What it is like to read the same book for the 10th time and still witness the same incredible laughter and joy as the first time from Gudiya, and to witness her unending, enduring energy and capacity for play, imagination and fun. Of long summer days of farmers markets and cold winter days of story times and libraries. Of bouncy houses and meeting other Moms and sharing stories and making connections.

What is different about this time now is I know: that this doesn’t last. Its one of those bitter-sweet things about childhoods. These carefree days of my gudiya as a toddler learning, playing, growing will pass. Just as my gudiya’s early months passed by – the miracle of seeing her sit up, seeing her crawl and then walk and then learn to talk and then put ideas together. They will never be back again. The miracles continue but I don’t take it for granted. Mostly.

And then sometimes I do. I forget.

Like some days when she refuses to take a nap – there have been more of them lately. I’m exhausted, cranky and want out. Some escape from what seems sometimes a lasting-forever cycle of snacks, potty times, books, and cooking and washing dishes and laundry. I can’t seem to remember anything else. Is this what I signed up for? In that moment of judgment – and of course there is judgment – that’s the most ready weapon when we tether on the edge of exhaustion – I forget and I take it for granted. I forget the miracle of having a healthy child, of having the luxury of being home, of feeling these frustrations and still knowing I love my babe. Thank goodness, I always wake up. In time to appreciate.

So really, it is okay. This is life. That is the truth of it. We may make choices based on what we want, what feels good, what is pleasant, what our priorities are but at the end of the day, our choices are about relationships. And it begins with a relationship with ourselves – how we relate to all of this, all of ourselves – all the moods and all the feelings.

So after a week of weighing and feeling weighed down, I am finding the light, the light that is streaming through the windows, the gorgeous sunshine of a spring day, a day full of possibilities, a light that is everywhere. I don’t know what my future will be and it is okay. What I do know is that feeling Mary Oliver was talking about in Luke and how…

“…easily
she adored
every blossom

not in the serious
careful way
that we choose
this blossom or that blossom

the way we praise or don’t praise –
the way we love
or don’t love –
but the way

we long to be –
that happy
in the heaven of earth –
that wild, that loving.”

With Love, S.

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Journeys and destinations – part deux

Moments after my blissful writing of the previous blog entry – savoring the sunshine, and basking in the smugness of my knowing – the roof came crashing. Anjali woke up from her nap prematurely, and started bawling. She looked distraught and kept arching her body backwards. She kept pushing me away, and kept crying, shreiking, like she didn’t know what was going on. I had never seen her like that. My mind went back to our last time when she had the vasculitis and couldn’t walk. She has had an asthma attack from a lung infection as well. What if this was a sort of precursor to a seizure?

I couldn’t get hold of Abhi so I called our Pediatrician. They weren’t very helpful either but the Doc mentioned night terror. That rang a bell. As I talked to the Doc, I knew I didn’t want to take her to the ER. I have learned that isn’t always the wisest move. So I decided to wait it out. I opened the door and showed her outside – and the stroller – and tempted her with a walk to see ‘the construction’. She kept crying and still didn’t say a word. Then she saw the cat. And slowly she came around and she calmed down. The cat saved us.

It had been 45 minutes since she had woken up. Long 45 minutes. When Anji calmed down, I put her in the stroller on the doorstep of our condo– came inside and started weeping uncontrollably.

Here I had been – less than an hour ago – in bliss convinced that my life was perfect and I had all the answers. And the very thing I was talking about had happened – the change. And I didn’t feel like it was any kind of opportunity to grow! It felt terrible – this change. Not the kind of change where baby gets up, needs her diaper changed and we have a snack and go out. Or read and play. No, it was a change of 180 degrees – completely upside down. Where had my idyll gone? I felt utterly alone and utterly clueless. And here I was undertaking by my own choice to spend more time with my kid – instead of a job I was good at and knew what I was getting into. Why would I do that? I wondered.

The moment when that thought came in, I knew I wouldn’t change a thing.

But I felt awful that day – for reacting and panicking and for my own inability to bounce back. Anji did. One hour later, she bounced on the bed and said ‘happy’. I looked at her with a sense of amazement. How is this possible? What does happy mean in this moment? Why couldn’t I be happy?

I battled it all day until I realized – we have to own our feelings. We can’t push them away. Pushing them away only hurts so much more. So I did what was right – I held myself with all the love I could muster. I acknowledged. Of course I was scared and freaked out. And of course it takes time to bounce back.

The next day, I got a baby sitter and finally had some time to myself for the first time all week. In that space came the realization of how much I had needed it – my own space to be me and take care of me. When belly dance class came that evening, I was ecstatic.

So this journey is as much about taking care of us as our babies. Only when we make time for joy and mothering our own bodies and minds can we give others. It is about signing up for that dance class or yoga or going for that walk or starting that book group. It is about making space to figure out who we are, what we believe in, and how we want to live our lives. Not just so we can be better Moms but so we can be better human beings. Less judging, kinder, and more resilient. And when the roofs come crashing and we are not the picture of equanimity – we can start over. Right now.

With love, S.

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Goodbye…

Just last week I was still employed with the college I have worked at for over ten years, and now I no longer am. Its like it never existed, gone, a decade of doing a certain kind of work and being a certain kind of person. As the zen saying goes, now, there is no trace. In a few weeks, my email id too will expire, and then I will no longer be in the system. Perhaps it will be like I never existed at the college. My office occupied by somebody else, someone more ambitious than me, more hard working and capable and some one who will perhaps move up the ladder, into a bigger office. And then, before you know it, somebody else will have moved in. The nametag outside the door, printed on white paper, will be removed by some graduate student who moves into the outer space enclosing my old office – who will maybe wonder for a second, who this person was. Who may hear of me perhaps over some chance conversation about molar absorption spectra. But there the curiosity will end – there is too much work to do!

And I, as I start a new kind of life, will wonder every now and then about my old life, and what people are working on – which new research project and which new grant. It will be a passing inquiry, a sort of wondering that that doesn’t hold on. My attention will wander to other things and I will soon have forgotten about that momentary inquiry. Or perhaps on a sunny Tuesday day, when I’m sitting outside with Anjali watching her play, I will thank my lucky stars that I’m not at the weekly group meeting we always had on Tuesday mornings, that has governed more schedules in my life than anything else. Or perhaps, I will bump into my ex-Boss in town while grocery shopping, and smile at him with the same care I have always felt for him – a camaraderie for someone who is a good man and works hard. Or maybe it will be his wife I meet, and we will exchange greetings. If I’m with Anjali, she will exclaim at how much Anji has grown and changed, and that will be what marks the passage of time.

I haven’t yet thought of what will replace the energy I gave my job for so many years – all of my twenties. Part of the question has already been answered this past year and half – through becoming a Mom and the energy and attention it takes both of the mind and the body. And how in the midst of reacting to a stream of changes, of happenings, of every day routine, there are these pauses that stop time and make me speechless in awe that my life has changed so much, more than I could ever have imagined. These pauses are the reminder that in spite of that shoulder ache or that tight back muscle, my heart feels more and more open. Open in that sweet love that a parent feels for his or her child and in compassion for myself for all the times I fail to be who I want to be. In these moments, life becomes more alive than ever, and feelings become beautiful and there is an ache in the heart sometimes, a wanting to stop time so that I can hold on to this moment just a little more. This hug from my little girl, of touching her small hands, and hearing her new words, and witness her tireless and fearless ability to want to learn new words, actions and way of being.

Leaving science, I’ve somehow made my way to being with the coolest scientist I have ever known – always wanting to explore and view things differently. I’m in awe of this process – of watching her brain make new connections each day, each connection leading to more questions and a sort of wonder and joy at all that life holds. In these moments, when I feel this ache, I want to hold on desperately for just one more second. Then I remember Blake’s words,

‘He who binds to himself, a joy
Does the winged life destroy.
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sunrise.’

And I want to live in eternity’s sunrise. So here I am, in a different place at a different time, leaving something old, and finding something new. I hope I never lose that sense of gratitude and affection for all that my old has taught me and all the ways I have grown in this past decade working the way I did. It has made me who I am, and brought me to this juncture in time. Now it is time to say my good bye, fondly and with affection. The bells are ringing and it’s time to board the train, a new one this time for a different destination. This new journey is promising – more time, more love, more passion and learning. I intend to enjoy this train ride as much as possible and at some point, I will maybe find out where the train is headed…Or maybe not. Right now, I only have intentions – to read, write, teach, follow my passions, be present and never forget to love each day, every day.

With Love, S.

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My flat tire lesson…

The last few days have been incredibly peaceful. Nobody has been sick, and things have been more or less smooth. And everyday I pinch myself at our good fortune. And yet it is days like today that I really come alive.

Last evening on a dark cold winter night, on the way to meeting a friend for dinner I realized I had a flat tire. I stopped by the gas station and the kind gentleman who worked there did what he could: he filled up my flat so I could get back home. I would have to wait and see if it held up. My lovely friend Sarah followed me all the way to make sure I got home safe, and then took me out to dinner. And this morning, after calling AAA and getting a spare tire on, I’m waiting at the car service to figure out if I need new tires.

Days like this, when we come face to face with the change, the unpredictability and uncertainty of life in whichever way, our practice comes alive. There is this incredible opportunity to respond rather than react when things don’t go the way we planned. How adaptable are we? And how present? My own mindfulness practice seems to be if I can be in the gas station and be right there and think no more than getting home. When I’m at dinner, to not be anywhere but with my friend- not with the car mechanic or the plans for next day and all that needs to get done. And this morning, to not be anywhere else but here, at the car service waiting.

It’s not like we won’t have thoughts that wish things to be otherwise. Of course it would have been more convenient if I didn’t have a flat at the end of a long day and we didn’t have to change the place we ate last night and so on. But we understand that this is the way things are, right now. They can’t be any other way. And thoughts are simply what they are – thoughts – fleeting. There will be another one before this one even ends…

The more I practice, the more I realize that mindfulness is ordinary. It is being with the washing of dishes, with the brushing of teeth, with the waiting at the car mechanic. It is being in the body when you lift up your arms in a sun salutation or when you see the blue jays outside jumping around from one branch to the other or when you sit with your daughter on the steps, saying two and three. It is the simplest of all practices, it is simply being here.

With love, S.

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Beginnings…

Life is amazing. We hit the wall and think we can’t make it through. And then we take tiny steps gingerly. and suddenly we are flying!!

It has been an incredible year starting with Anjali’s birth on September 11th, 2010. The journey was probably in motion already, but that was the turning point. I look back and see a woman who so wanted to embrace her inner most desires but was afraid to. And now Thanks to Anjali and her amazing superman Dad, my husband Abhi, I’m finding the courage to leave my job as Professor at Dartmouth.

Last month was a month of introspection – of taking the time to be with uncertainty, self-doubt and fear of letting go. Of playing this incessant dance of confusion and clarity. Just like after incessant rain, things clear up in a marvelous way, somehow miraculously, things started coming together.

I found a position at the local community college to teach Math one evening a week. It doesn’t pay much but is just the kind of thing I want to do – put my skills to some practical use in the community. I got some excellent feedback on my writing from the Writers Center – and am thinking of self-publishing my memoirs on becoming a first-time Mom. My beading is on sale in a local store called Brambles (I hope they sell! I’m very proud!)

I can now spend time now with Anjali without feeling guilty about it, without dreading my work, without constantly feeling like I should be working or reading papers or writing grants or going to conferences, which, after a decade of doing them, I no longer want to do.

One evening, as I sat with how crazy it is to leave a secure well-paying job and status for something that is just a hunch, I came across this poem of Rumi called ‘gamble everything for love’ translated by one and only Coleman Barks:

Gamble everything for love,
if you’re a true human being.
If not, leave this gathering.

Half-heartedness doesn’t reach into majesty.
You set out to find God, but then you keep stopping
for long periods at meanspirited roadhouses.

Don’t wait any longer. Dive in the ocean, leave and let the sea be you.’

The message was loud and clear! Rumi is incorrigible! 🙂

I don’t know what my future will look like. and that feels okay. What I wish for is that there is so much of Love that it overflows to everyone around. Gratitude for the abundance in life each day every day. And the knowing or at least striving to be present.

May we find the courage to fly – not in spite of the fear, but with it!

With Love, S.

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The flow of life…

When we make room to be imperfect and to make mistakes, we tap into this universal feeling in the world that sometimes we can’t be on top of everything. Sometimes, the human side of us that is vulnerable and overwhelmed comes to the top. Much as we would like to ignore that side of us and pretend that everything is great, that side is very much present, and today – demands attention. When we make room for that to happen, we start truly living where we no longer try to control what we can and cannot experience; instead we embrace everything that comes along: the hurt and the judgments as well as the love and the generosity.

This is a relief really, because we no longer have to pretend to be in control! We can then surrender to the current flowing around us, and let our inner soul guide us to see the choices we do have: how can we be kind and loving and open in the face of this uncertainty of life in each day – the roof falling when we need it the most, or the lack of water when we get really thirsty. When we embrace this too as one of life’s vicissitudes, that is when the skies rain water and the clouds provide the mist for our protection …

What a relief it is to acknowledge the truth of our existence just as it is, and then choose to live and dance with that!! Therein lies freedom…

with love, S.

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Giving up the need to be perfect…

This is the best advice my counselor gave me when I went to her as an overwhelmed parent of four-month old. And it’s advice I continue to find invaluable.

The thing I’m learning, about being a parent, is that you make mistakes. There are many things you’ll do that you never thought you would. Like putting kitchen towels into the oven and forgetting about it and nearly burning the house down. Or breaking the side mirror of your car coming out of your own garage. Or hearing the fire alarm and rushing outside the house with your baby because you forgot that it was the day of the fire alarm testing. Or falling asleep at work, while in a meeting or reviewing a paper. It’s stuff you just wouldn’t do in your sane mind. And I’m not even talking about the baby stuff we mess up on!!

It’s funny when we are not in it. This giving up of our well defined structured and ‘tidy’ lives so that we may raise babies and voluntarily go through sleep deprivation and chaos. Clearly there has got to be a trade-off, even though it is not always obvious what that is :).

The tradeoff is that we learn what it is to be human. We learn patience and endurance and the kind of unconditional love that we didn’t think we were capable of. We learn flexibility and giving up ‘I should’ and ‘I ought to’ because we have no choice. And we learn the possibility of joy and paying attention because we get to be around babies who don’t know that it can be otherwise.

We get to see things as if for the first time because that is what our babies are doing: seeing paper, grass, socks, teeth, feet, rain and more, for the first time. And they continue to do so everyday. And incredible as it may sound, witnessing this is much more exciting than reviewing a paper on functional near infrared imaging of the brain. (No wonder I fell asleep on that one!). This window of witnessing what it is like to not know the concept of time or gravity, to not experience fear or doubt, to know freedom of expressing yourself just as you are, this is the gift of parenthood. And it somehow makes up for all the hours of sleep we lose and all the neurosis we go through being a parent. Mary Oliver was right when she said, ‘most things that are important, lack a certain neatness’. Amen to that.

With Love,
Shuba

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