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This one is special, because I have already written about everyone – father, sister, husband, children.. So, when it was time to show my love for the child bearer, I figured what better way than to ask her to scribble a few lines for my humble blog.. The outcome? A mixture of excerpts taken from what my mother wrote for me.. To sound every bit like a seasoned writer, I have to mention I have her verbal permission to use her material in the below SEMI-fictional.. :)
“Mommie.. mommie.. Hot!! Hot!!..” 2 year old Kyle startled Karina in bed while screaming at the top of his lungs at 7:15am in the morning..
“Gosh darn it, it is just 7 in the morning Kyle, why don’t you sleep a little longer?? I am sure Maria put you to sleep very early and washed off her hands! I am sorry Chaz, but I guess no more date nights for us.. I cannot give up my lazy late mornings on the weekends for anything!”
“Ut-oh Kyle, yes mommie is hot, but this morning she is hot with temper! Let’s get out of bed and go to your room while she sleeps a little longer”, Chaz grabbed the hot coffee that Kyle was referring to from her and stepped out of the bedroom closing the door behind him, still smiling.. Karina stayed in bed and dialed her mom who was 10,000 miles away in Bangladesh probably getting ready for dinner..
“Oh mom, what can I tell you, I have started hating weekends now! Kyle cannot seem to sleep past 6:30am and it is a pain my rear end! Mom, we were super excited about our date night yesterday, and felt that it was one that we had truly earned..! We had dinner and a few minutes of quiet time for ourselves! Heavenly! But, we crashed into the real world of baby so hard that I can’t seem to remember how great I was feeling just 12 hours ago!”
“Come on, give yourself a break, thinking of those moments might cheer you up! Also, Kyle might be hungry..”
“Talking to you is a waste of time mom, you will end up taking Kyle’s side anyway.. You will not understand how demanding my life is! Remember mom you were completely smitten by the idea of motherhood at 19, so you did not see any life outside of your two girls and your husband..”
The line goes mute..
“Yeah, yeah, sorry, I meant your two girls, and DADDY! Oh, let me go now, bye!”
Karina was relentless about how relentless she perceived her mother to be.. So, she picked up the conversation on Sunday, when she knew her dad will be an earshot from the phone while she was talking to her mother.. She had to be respectful.. very respectful.. She started off politely this time..
“Mom, you are just 50 mommie, do you know in America, especially in Florida, I hear 87 year old folks driving cars..!! If that is not eye popping news what else is?”
“Have you wondered why you had to hear that on the news? If it was business as usual, I suspect they would not be on TV! Also, have you received any paper greetings this year..? Do you remember you would cut the flowers and quotes out of the post cards and greetings that your father would receive on New Year’s day and make posters out of them?? All that might seem silly to you now, but that was great fun for you and your sister! Maybe Kyle will not disturb you if you can give him some small scissors and a few of those postcards!”
“Oh mom, you should start writing funnies, hand written post cards?!! Ha ha.. Oh, do you remember Alicia, Joey’s mom, she rear ended someone on her way back home yesterday evening..! I am not surprised, she is ALWAYS on the phone with someone or the other, never paying attention to Joey while picking up or dropping off that poor guy at school.. Ha, how is the timing so perfect I ask? What kind of a mom is she?! Sheeeesh!!!”
“I remember those days when you would wait eagerly on the steps outside the front door for me to come back from school.. You would finish eating your snack that I set out on the table that morning and feed your sister and take care of her till I came back! About that girl, maybe she works the phones! You, you still working 14 hours a day?! Kyle will miss you and your nurturing..”
“Mom, why does this have to be about me all the time?! How does working and maintaining a blog on the personal front have to be the same as not being responsible and taking care of my own child? You are sympathetic to a stranger, but I can’t carry on a decent conversation with you before you start giving me lectures about how to raise my child!”
The line goes mute..
“Mom, chores at home, deadlines at work, maintaining a social circle, setting up play groups, having a hobby – writing, and still having a few minutes of decent face time with the husband in the evening to chat up the day’s events.. All this takes effort and planning!”
“And to add to that, Chaz has been working hard at office for a presentation, so has zero contribution towards dish washing and laundry loads these days! The agreement for having a child at this point in our lives was with an understanding to share his responsibility equally and not one person being completely overwhelmed with raising them – in this case it is me!”
Karina did not wait for a goodbye and did not think of the conversation much afterward.. A two line email 15 minutes later from her mother brought guilt and sadness…
Honey, it read, I miss you both each day, every day! I do not want that to happen to you.. I want you to make enough memories with your little ones to last a lifetime.. Love you with all my heart, momma.
That night she did NOT beg Chaz with her usual bedtime sweet talk, “Honey, don’t stimulate his brain, with so much activity on the phone and TV, he will not sleep soon.. Take that damn Iphone away from him!!”
She called her mother, clutching Kyle close to her as he dozed off later, “Mom, I was thinking about what you said.. For Kyle, food and a warm hug seem to make his day! Thank you!”
“We will start having dinner at the table again, just like the old days.. same table, same number of people.. each night! A great chunk of golden memories I made with my sister over food and school..”
Karina’s mother listened, and together they cried, they laughed.. She told her, how she had been a multi-tasker in her own right.. Taking care of her husband’s family of 10 people – the in-laws.. married at 17 with no “online” daughter-in-law help to refer to..
Soon Karina realized that she was a multitasker by virtue of self infliction.. the Meetups, the Facebooks, the blogs, the playgroups, the countless todo lists that I filled her day editing and copying from one to another.. they will have to wait.. Life was just as simple as that.. Kyle comes first.. The demands of her life seemed to evaporate in front of her mother’s genuine life-size situations that she maneuvered through her entire life..
As they talked, she confessed, how embarrassed she was when she opened the envelope that her grandfather gave her as a wedding gift – a cash bundle and a note which read, “All marital problems get resolved in the bedroom, this is the golden rule to bliss.” That day she had felt that she belonged to a family of freaks!!
“Sweetheart, do you know why you feel so connected with me today?! There are millions of cultures in the world, hundreds of countries with millions of mothers in them – but there is only one feeling like a labor pain and every tear that a mother sheds for laughter or sadness has one thing in common.. – they are ALL salty!”
That was Karina’s mother, even while she struggled with a great set of roller coaster emotions, Karina never found out if she had ever wondered what liposuction was, what the side effects of babies watching too much TV were, or obsessing about how to get rid of her co-sleeping kids from her bed into their own bedrooms – the list was long and exhausting.. The principle she would reveal was as simple as KISS – Keep it simple stupid..
Ha, who would have guessed, Karina had the capability of over-complicating the simplest of math problems in childhood..
Mom pointed out the positive aspects that were common.. A supportive husband who was trying to accommodate and fit in into their ambitious world of love, emotions, aspirations and children.. As the time and space gathered for them at the end of the day dwindled, men have been consistently adapting to women’s changing personalities and outlook and trying to keep up with their own understanding of fulfilling families needs everywhere..
The phone call ended, it was time to start over! Family comes first!
The next day at work, Monday afternoon, she pinged Chaz during one of those 2pm wake-me-up-I-am-so-sleepy-at-work-now chat sessions that they both would automatically tune into.. Something that her mother says she missed during her days, where she had to wait the whole day to keep her father up to date about her day and her thoughts contained for around dinner time and later.. Workplace internet was such a blessing she giggled to herself and enthusiastically started typing..
kacchao99: Chazzie, soooooooooo, how would you rate last night ;) ;)
a. Mind blowing, woah!!!
b. That was good, we should do this more often.. ;)
c. Nah, not up to the mark.. “
Chaz is idle..
kacchao99: Hello.. BUZZ.. :)
Chaz is now online.
Chaz: Let us talk about everything tonight.
Chaz: I am screen sharing on the projector here at the Headquarters building in downtown. Thanks for your patience.”
kacchao99 is now offline.
The multi-tasking diva that Karina was, she absentmindedly forgot about the important presentation that Chaz was presenting at the NET Builder 1.2 WebEx Conference, a meet that had attracted 8000 Information Technology professionals from outside of Atlanta.
Without blinking an eyelid, Karina then gathered enough courage to “tear up” her online check lists.. She had perceived them now to be more damaging that she thought they were!
A woman who believed in “Example is better than precept”… Without my mother, I would be lost.. And without my children my existence would have meant nothing.. Love to my mother who taught me that my boys don’t care where I play ball with them as long as I am there for them and play with them and laugh with them; it doesn’t matter if we are in the house, or in a park, or in a paid admission only play zone in the mall.. or EVEN on an island without food and water..
To you, I promise my love will be without distractions,
And I also have on my mind.. all the wonderful, super, funny, smart, efficient, caring, persevering mothers in my life! With love,
Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773): We are, in truth, more than half what we are by imitation..
Isak Dinesen (pen name of Karen Blixen), author (1885-1962): The cure for anything is salt water — sweat, tears, or the sea.
Watch the incredible spoken word poetess, Sarah Kay at TED 2011:
The things she would tell her daughter if she were to have one: If I should have a daughter …