family

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...

A POEM SERIES: TEN MINUTES, MY FATHER’S SON, MAUD

Ten Minutes In the next ten minutes I have to go, and you can’t let me just walk out of your life again.   Can’t let you! Can’t stop you, I said, and I won’t try, won’t try. How can I? What should I do? Follow you from place to place? Sit outside your house and chance being turned away, by someone? I don’t know where it is, in any case and I don’t want to know.   So what’s it to be? A thread? An occasional e-mail to keep in touch? I don’t think so! Our lives are so distant in every way, how to join them up?   The trick would be to store the memories and leave behind the sense of loss. Ditch the sadness. But we’ve tried before. And failed. And we’re running out of years. If we meet a next time, the chances are we’ll be too old to care.   We need to achieve a modus vivend...

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: *From Virginia. ...

THE HALL OF SHAME

I was made to feel ashamed for being a girl when I was growing up. Torn between my Indian and British roots. I am today the lotus that blossomed from the misogynous muddy waters.  In cultures across the globe women are framed with shame in one way or another. Shame comes in many forms. Labelling, belittling, disrespecting, insulting, abusing or just holding negative attitudes. Women in the west are not impervious to be made to feel ashamed. For example, menstruation is still so stigmatised. In some Asian cultures (not mine), girls are celebrated and showered with gifts for being fertile. However, here women hide tampons and sanitary towels, dodging every eye in sight like a ninja. Breastfeeding is another taboo. Women are also criticised for aging or putting on weight. Letting that saggy s...

SUFFER OR PURGE

Would you rather suffer or purge your life of what no longer serves you? Boom. Mic drop. Can you imagine what it would be like to remove or eradicate anything that does not make you feel good and feed your soul? This sounds like an obvious statement but do our actions reflect this, usually not. There are many moments in our life in which we decide to stay and subject ourselves to an environment that drains us of energy. Why? There is always a great excuse why.  Consider if you’ve said or thought the following: I am so lost in what to do with my life. I have to have this job or else I’m a failure. It used to be so good. If I wait, he/she will treat me like they used to when we first started dating. I know they’re addicted but we’ve been friends since I was little. I have to be there for him...

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...

THE WOMAN I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD BE

It was a few hours past midnight and I couldn’t find anything open around the area where I parked my car – which was also my bed at that moment – so I went outside to find some place to hide for me to take a leak. Maybe it was the combination of the cold autumn night and not having anything to eat on that day, but I never felt so exposed to the outside world like that in all my life. I felt so bare, unprotected, and, the saddest thing is, so alone. Have you ever felt like your world as you know it went and crumbled to the ground in just a matter of seconds? Imagine everything you have, everything you worked so hard for, everything that is important to you – your whole world – taken away from you. I remember crying inside the car until the tears couldn’t ...

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...

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