I want to take a moment to say Happy Mother’s Day to our moms Mary and Suchita, my Aunt Debbie, and to some special mom friends-Aimee, Brandy, Deb, Kelli and Saffy, and finally to the company Isis Parenting.
Mary–While my mom and I may not seem to have a lot in common on the surface, she is responsible for introducing me to sci-fi and fantasy. She read fairy tales to me when I was little, and introduced me to Star Trek. She took me to Back to the Future (and even let me sit apart from her in Back to the Future Part 2 so I could sit with/share sweet tarts and brush hands with Chris when I was 11ish), ET, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (even if she only sat through it once and then told me I was old enough to go to the movies myself when I wanted to see it again). She patiently tries to teach me to crochet when I get the idea in my head every few years and does a remarkable job of not laughing as I FAIL over and over. She let me move back home when I was 24 so I could finish grad school and do my unpaid slavery student teaching. And speaking of moving, she has moved me in and out of countless apartments. When I was sick and waiting for my back surgery, she took care of me for a week while Ravi went to a conference and made sure I got all of medication on time (something Ravi kept forgetting and once infamously said “why are all these alarms going off?”). When I was in labor, she got me the food I was begging for. She’s also a loving and super-fun grandma who gets down on the floor and plays with Elanor.
Suchita–Although I didn’t know her then, I know that she was a great mom to Ravi. She took care of him all the times he was home-bound with the breathing issues that turned out to be a severe dust mite allergy. She took him to every McDonalds in Tokyo and every toy store to buy Go-Bots when he was little. She drove him to countless high school Math Team, Science Team and Academic Decathalon events (sometimes in the same day). She postponed a trip to India for an extra few days so that she could drive his absolute last second acceptance and check to MIT when Ravi took right up until the buzzer to decide where he was going (and I wonder what she would’ve done if the decision had gone the other way and he’d chosen CalTech). She welcomed me into their family and defends me when Ravi and his dad yell at me for stupid Bridge mistakes. She has made endless batches of home made french fries for me. She played tour guide for me, Ravi, and our friends in India. She is also a very loving grandmother, who has a very sweet bond with Elanor.
Debbie-My aunt was like a second mom to me as I grew up. She passed on her sense of humor, and the important lesson that it’s okay to be silly. I have tons of memories of cooking with her, instilling my love of cooking and baking to this day. She snuck me candy, gave me the “just this once” late bedtimes or staying up to watch tv shows/movies, and put up with the sleep-over in Maine where my best friend at the time and I watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (the movie) over and over and over (I have no idea why 20 years later). Even today, she has always been willing to drop everything to help me. When Elanor came home from the hospital (both times) she stayed with us to help. She and I shared many very late night (think 2am) moments when Elanor decided it was time to be awake and play…and she was there the first time Elanor smiled (at me) on camera and she is great with Ella.
Aimee–One of my closest friends, it was wonderful to share the journey of pregnancy, childbirth and this mom thing so far with her. Born within days of each other (E was early, CJ was late) our children have spent the last year and a half having playdates. Our parenting styles are different and while in other friends that might be a source of division, I (at least) have enjoyed learning about different parenting choices/styles than mine from someone who shares about her choices in a non-judgmental way, creating a safe space to consider/reconsider my own choices. She has encouraged me to be more daring with Elanor, especially in the arts. She has shown up at a moment’s notice when I had a bad day. She is my first phone call when I’m thrilled or exasperated, and she has been a major support through all of Elanor’s health issues. In many ways, I aspire to be more like her as a mom, although paradoxically she is also the friend who has helped me most in becoming a more confident mom.
Brandy–A friend who I lost touch with, I was so happy to heard she’d become a mom. As far back as I can remember (which, for the record, is when I was 17 and she was 18) she aspired to be a mom. She has two great kids, and I look forward to meeting them in person on one of our trips back to the US. Her kids are a little older than mine, and I’m learning that I should be listening more carefully to her tips (like bungee cording the chairs around the table…we found E standing on the table two days ago) as she’s the older/wiser big sister in this whole mom thing. I’m so proud of her finding a way to parent while on crutches far longer than anyone expected after her knee surgery last year, and for being brave enough to get the surgery largely to be a more active mom after already going through knee surgery twice. Our parenting styles are far more similar than mine and Aimees are, and she’s a good reality check when I start thinking I should be growing, mashing and pureeing my own baby food or some such thing that isn’t really me.
Deb–Although most of our playdates have been with Zane and Zach, I was really happy to meet Deb. She has been such a strong guide in this journey with Elanor, especially when it came to all the Early Intervention stuff. She helped me become a better advocate for Elanor, and that it was okay to demand things (like a speech assessment) that I wasn’t entirely sure were necessary but were obsessively worrying over. That it is okay to hear “there’s nothing to worry about” from a specialist and to not feel guilty for “wasting their time” (what I worried about doing) and that it wasn’t a waste of anyone’s time to be sure of a problem or lack thereof as early as possible. Here in Singapore where there is no EI and doctors and moms are very different, that advocacy skill is more important than every.
Kelli–Although we’ve met in person once, I feel like I’ve known Kelli forever. We met in our pregnancy group online, and that chance shared experience has evolved into a wonderful friendship. We have a lot of similarities from our career choices to being married to Indian boys. I admire what a great job she’s done with Ronan, who is the sweetest little boy. I’m also so excited to become a virtual auntie again when she #2 this summer, and yes…even a little envious.
Saffy–I can’t wait to (someday) meet you & the little one in person. You’re an awesome mom blog friend, and I admire everything you’ve gone through to get to this point. I like your wit, and some days your comments are what inspire me to keep writing here. I feel like you are the Jedi Master of diabetes and pregnancy for me…I sit at your feet, Yoda!
Isis Parenting was a second home for Elanor and I. From the pre-natal classes (although the “natural birth” video sent me into a full blown panic attack) to all the developmental groups to the shopping, Isis is the kind of place I wish every mom had access to. Marena, Nancy, and Lisa were amazing group leaders who introduced me to new songs, books, and games to play with Elanor. The staff at Isis Needham (where we took almost every class) were a wonderful part of every week–they knew Elanor by name almost immediately and never steered me wrong. When there was a problem with my stroller bag (which I’d bought there) they encouraged me not to give up and even got me in contact with the person who finally fixed the problem, rather than let me just buy the new bag (which I was almost ready to do). I have Isis to thank for my friendships with Pamela, Susan and Lily. We miss our weekly visit to Isis for class and our friends there.
Happy Mother’s Day to everyone…I wish I could name every cool mom I know or have met.