Family and Motherhood

LULLABY FOR MOM

When did you first feel like a grown-up? When you graduated college? When you got married? Bought a house? Had a baby? Not me. Adulthood sucker-punched me at age 53, when I had to make decisions about my elderly mom. Mom was a formidable woman. She came from a poor Cuban family of 11 children, the middle child in a family where the four girls were significantly less important than the seven boys. It’s sobering to be faced with the raw realization that you are a witness to your parent’s entire life. No, you weren’t there for all of it, but you heard the stories about her youth, how she was teased by her siblings, how she had to walk for miles to get to school in shoes resoled with cardboard, the heartbreaks that defined her. You begin to uncover the mystery that is the most influential pers...

YOU ARE

After you took your life, Mom gave me your goldfish bowl. You filled it with shells and stones and one silver medallion, and everything in the tank was balanced just so. A large moon snail shell sat by the front, bottom left, upon two flat stones. These assorted tide-swept artifacts were once scattered across your table. I could imagine you working with thoughtful intention while Fela Kuti’s singing sailed through your stereo speakers. I carried the bowl gingerly back to my house and placed it on the kitchen table. Soon I knew how to carefully touch one of the shells with just my fingertip, without disturbing the arrangement. And I would think, “We’re close to each other again.” So much beauty in one bowl. Concentric ridges in the clam shells resembled whipped cream spread on a tiny pie. G...

HOW TO REMAIN SANE WHEN YOUR CHILD IS A MONSTER

My daughter Juliana is deep into her terrible twos. In fact, it feels like she has been two for about 10 years now. Her 4-year-old sister, Clarabella, gave us the false impression that caring for babies and toddlers is easy (ha!).  When Clarabella was two, she would read quietly by herself for an hour or more, and loved to walk around cleaning the walls with baby wipes. Those walls are now decorated daily with food, crayons, and…well, I don’t even know what this stain is. While our home was once filled with the melodic sounds of Raffi and story time on the rug, there is now a cacophony of piercing screams, crashes, toys hurled at the wall, crying, and the occasional evil laughter. And I am losing my shit. I have always been sensitive to sound. In a chaotic and noisy environment, I feel cla...

NEVER REALLY THERE

I never liked Father’s Day for the sheer fact that it often fell on my birthday, and that was a day I never liked to share. The first time I remember it happening, I was 12 and I was forced to go spend the day with my Dad, Mom and younger brother at a friend of my Dad’s house for a cookout. As we all know, 12 is a big age to be accepted by your peers, and birthdays were a big time to shine. I liked being the center of attention and hated that I had to share my day with a man who was absent most of my life. Growing up, my Dad worked a lot. He was successful so it always seemed fine that he wasn’t around much. I was able to do things that I wanted to do and overall had a good childhood. My Mom did all of the everyday parenting, including taking my brother and I to school, p...

THE HUMAN FAMILY

We Homo sapiens aka humans, are the most complex creation of the God or the Universe. We are different perhaps in race, gender, ethnicity, religious practices but when we were born, we were born a human first. We are complex in thinking yet our hearts sing songs of kindness, Our love and respect for each other beats negativity and toxicity that may arise. We all belong to one family above all, The Human Family. We Love, Laugh, Sing, Dance, Cry, Eat, Pray and Live together. Let us Love, Laugh, Live the life to the fullest. Let us Share Happiness and Kindness as much as we can. After all, We are all one family, the Human Family.     Author: Anisha K Chhetri Email: anishakhadka@icloud.com  Your Bio: *F...

MONSTER MIND

When we are young we believe we are invincible. It’s only when we are adults that we realise how fragile life is and how much we value it, but more importantly how necessary we are to those dependent on us. The children we bring into the world are fully reliant on us, and we need to be healthy, strong and available for them. Last week at the beach, this hit home. I was standing in the queue to buy an ice cream for my son when my eyes caught the sight of a young lady around my age. She was asking for a first aid box as she had hurt her hand. I saw that she looked faint and pale. I asked if she was ok, she nodded but something inside me urged me to go and check up on her again. She wasn’t well. She was sitting down on a chair in front of the kiosk, a lady was standing next to her trying to c...

MY FIRST TIME | EMBRACING THE AWKWARDNESS

“Please remove all your clothes and put this robe on. You can just set the sheet on your lap. Dr. Lee will be right with you.” I nod my head and wait for the door to close before I begin to slide my dress off. I hope everything is normal; good thing I’m not on my period; is it weird that I shaved or does that make it seem like I care too much. I try to shake away all the thoughts racing through my mind and my eyes skim across a poster about getting tested for STDs. Below the poster are brochures and pamphlets about everything I didn’t know about my own body. *knock, knock* The door cracks open and then HE walks in. Many women despise going to the OB/GYN – the anxiety, the awkwardness, the vulnerability…the cold hands. I was nervous already, but upon learning that my doctor was ...

HOW WORDS CAN AFFECT THE BIRTH EXPERIENCE

“Be mindful of the words you say, you never know how they may affect someone’s day.” I’m not sure where that quote came from but it is one of my favorites. I used to say this to myself often when I would get frustrated at work as a doula, although I must admit, I did not always practice what I preached. However, at a birth I attended recently, the significance of this quote was apparent. The mom had words of encouragement strategically placed throughout her room, painted on cardboard squares in vibrant colors. The boards included phrases such as, “My body was made to do this” and “Each surge brings me closer to having my baby in my arms.” It was a project she had done with her older children to give them the opportunity to feel included in he...

BUILDING BRIDGES: A STORY OF SISTERHOOD AND PARTNERSHIP TO CREATE QUEENIE WAHINE

I work with my sister. We have built an online community, Tribe of Daughters, and are releasing our first book this summer: Queenie Wahine: Little Surfer Girl. Cool, right? Two surfer-girl sisters inspiring the next generation of little girls to be adventurous and brave. It almost sounds too good to be true. Working with my sister elicits a lot of different comment from others. Everything from, “Ohhhh, how nice.” to “Hmmm, that must be hard.” to “Why? I’d kill my sister.” These have all been truths at some point this past year. But working with my sister hasn’t been quite like I thought it would be. It has been a series of mostly successes with a few hiccups and life lessons sprinkled in-between. Let me set the scene so you can have a context of how we came to work together. Last summer, I...

HOW TO RAISE A FEMINIST SON

The news cycle of this past year has been too difficult to navigate, as a woman but more importantly as a parent, especially one of a very aware pre-teen. I want my kids to be aware and informed of the world and to be active citizens as they grow into their teenage and adult years. But, I also want to protect them. Not all the news of the day is meant for kids’ ears. The line of what to tell them or let them know can be blurry. We now live in a 24-hour-a-day news feed, on TV, the internet, our phones. We have a president who tweets inappropriate things constantly and who has been caught on tape saying even more inappropriate things! Our kids hear that, even if it isn’t coming from us. They hear things at school or see headlines in the checkout line or the news on the radio before you...

CRACKED WINDSHIELDS

  There is a crack in the windshield. No doubt about that. It’s my grandma’s old station wagon. The one where we could pile ten kids and not flinch when the door opened and we all had to grab on to the unlucky cousin closest to the door before he falls out. A mortifying thought to the new standards of parenthood I am now beholden to, but I was a child and nothing appeared unusual. I was sitting in the honor seat, the front, wedged between my grandma and my cousin. My cousin being the oldest, and the one with the dead parents, would always hold the title of ruling grandkid so I always tried to be the best second place. She was the commander of radio and the wind-up crank on the window. I sat in the middle one eye to my grandma’s bright blue clip on earring and one eye watching my...

EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER OF A HOMESCHOOLING MOM-PRENEUR

  Everyone says, “Build your own business, you will have more freedom to enjoy life.” What they don’t say is after your third day at home, with two teens and an adolescent dictator, while working on your business and teaching your kids about life, you forget yet again to get dressed and you just might forget to brush your teeth. No seriously, when building a business from your home and having little ones, or even teens in my case, running around getting into everything or interrupting every conversation, you simply forget to take care of basic needs, such as lunch. Your beloved shower gets pushed aside for those absolutely necessary bouncer moments when everyone seems to be fighting. Your home starts to look like a bomb went off in your living room, and your extended...

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