@rheumiemama

Musings of a zealous Rheumatologist,helicopter mom, wife, animal lover, feminist, wanna be chef, amateur yogi, dreamer and multitasker

The Magic of Fatherhood : a toast to dads

The wonderful dads that I know bring something so special and unique to the table and into their children’s lives. I have born witness to some great fathers in my lifetime so far , most notably my own dad and my husband to our kids who embody the essence of fatherhood.

I admire their steadfast solid characters. They are kind, caring, intelligent and hard-working. They have the secret solutions for everything and can fix it all. Even if they don’t know how to at first, they will find away to get it done. They live in the moment and have a calming presence about them. Their love is uncomplicated , unconditional love and the way they parent is, dare I say, practical. Yet they can be goofy and silly have no qualms letting go or letting loose , becoming child-like, mirror images of their own kids possessing the magic to transport themselves back to their own childhood. They are adventurous and often the “fun” parents but still manage to be disciplinarians and quite seamlessly so. They seem to easily know where to draw the line and create healthy boundaries. They are champs at detaching as well ( aka ignoring the messes and chilling on the sofa watching Netflix or even dozing off ) without the kids batting an eye! Maybe this is the secret to not having to run off for a rescue spa day on the verge of burn out.They share their wisdom. They support, protect and encourage their kids to be independent but never hesitate to to step in to fight for them when they need to. They seem to be able to know when to let go, when the littles need to learn figure things out themselves. They do not sweat the small stuff but they’re there for the big stuff.They often don’t dwell on the past and inherently understand the futility of worrying incessantly. They also face pressures of a different kind in our patriarchal society which has a multitude of flaws and yes even a few that disadvantage men. There’s an ease with which dads parent and carry on most times that makes me curious and amused at the same time and a tinge envious , I have to admit.
I confess that without a doubt, there are more than a few ways that I have tried to emulate them. Like every human on earth, dad‘s have their strengths and their flaws. They have their failures and vices like the rest of us. The best dads invest in their children and family ... with their time, monetarily and with much of their energy. I am blessed to have a father who believed in me and continues to believe in me , along with my dreams and aspirations even when they were merely distant possibilities with whole lot of uncertainty . It would’ve been easier to say no, to listen to others and trudge along the well worn path. But he took a chance on me. He took a chance on my brother. I recall that when I was about 4 , before we knew we would be moving to the U.S. , we attempted to enroll me in a highly sought after school. In retrospect, mostly, it seemed that you needed to know somebody or be somebody. Now my dad’s large extended family is of a fairly humble background as I knew it but well respected and educated. My parent’s immediate circle didn’t have lofty connections though. My dad prompted me to interview and give it my best. He had promised me a reward with my very first sparkly watch, if I were to succeed . Not surprisingly, I didn’t procure a spot. I was heart broken. It was my first taste of personal failure . I didn’t know how broken the system was at the time but that isn’t the point. My courage and faith were restored when my dad returned home beaming and adorning my tiny wrist with the most beautiful embellished watch I had ever set eyes on . He continues to be my pillar of strength even though he is physically halfway around the world. Thank heavens for good fathers!

Tribute (part one ): farewell sweet home !

The day finally came, to close on the sale of our first home and bid it farewell. Although, we had prayed and eagerly waited for that moment, it still came with a bittersweet feeling and a big old lump in the throat. Ok, truth be told, a few tears may have been shed... or maybe I bawled like a baby alone in the bathroom. The event was in some ways, akin to the last day of high school/college or selling your first ride. Just as most first time homeowners do, before they invest in their first home, we too, toiled, saved , planned and waited impatiently with baited breath, in anticipation of the day we would move into a home of our very OWN. The opportunity for us may have come a bit later than for some but it was in keeping with our life choices, I guess. Most of us have probably at some point or the other, complained and lamented about how much the rent was burning a hole in our pockets and claiming (sometimes naively) how that sum could’ve very well have gone towards a mortgage! Our time came after I had just graduated from fellowship training and as I landed my dream job. I will never forget the feeling...I was on cloud nine! Finding our first dream home and moving in to it was quite the adventure, to say the least. I will sheepishly admit that we probably looked at close to a hundred homes over a span of a few years ( with a break in between from, well, cold feet). We even made offers on a few of those homes but something always just didn’t work out in the end. We separated from an agent after deciding to forfeit a property we had wanted but ended up gaining a new friend. She became our trusted agent. All this to say, the best things in life never come easy and our first house was one of them.

My husband had come to know of this home almost a year prior and had fallen in love with it . When the time came, we snatched it up well before it was listed on the market. I recall the first time I walked in to the house, I just knew it was meant to be . It wasn’t perfect but was pretty darn close to it for me! I felt a familar sense of the comfort of home. OUR home. At that time, we only had one human child, a cat ( who has now moved with us 5 times through 4 different states) and a fairly new canine family member. The day we settled on the house, my in laws were scheduled to return to nepal the very next day. We had a cozy picnic on the bare wooden floors in the empty house to commemorate the auspicious day. Things weren’t smooth sailing thereafter though. The week we planned to move in , ironically, a tornado tore through the town which unhinged our plans. As I drove through the streets to the new house the next day, I gaped wide-eyed at the wires strewn across the road and large trees blocking entry every which way I turned. It was like a scene from a zombie apocalypse movie. I wondered where the heck we had decided to move to. It suddenly seemed like the middle of nowhere. This was of course, as my husband would tease, my Kim Kardashian response because we were only 25 min out from Philly, in reality. Our hearts sank as we surveyed the damage to our newly coveted home . We quickly realized how fortunate we were , after encountering the shocking image of a gigantic tree with roots hanging out, literally piercing through our dear next-door -neighbors house! Thank God everyone was safe.

Moving day finally came and we were ecstatic. I vividly recall our friend joking about how we needed to fill up the huge house with more kids, lest we get lost in it. 2.5 years later, we had our daughter and our friend had us imagining how the winding, wrought iron, stair case in the foyer would be where S. would pose in her beautiful, flowing prom dress. There was no doubt that we believed this would be our forever home. I often joke that if I didn’t go in to medicine, I would’ve taken serious courses in interior designing. Growing up, my simple and humble parents would tire of finding me randomly rearranging furniture and decor in the house. I can’t tell you how many apps I devoured , the likes of Houzz and Pinterest, for the perfect paint palette, backsplash, etc. It was a dream come true. I had spent many free waking hours daydreaming about how I would finally decorate our much awaited first home. I had a special place in my heart for the sunroom. That sunroom became the center of many photo ops, from holiday parties to family photos, baby showers, birthdays and not to mention star gazing and sipping morning tea, gazing at the lush landscaping (or breathtaking snow capped branches). We lovingly chose each item, big and small and we made the house our own over the years with our blood, sweat and tears...and of course, some serious moola. My husband’s favorite place was, no doubt, the spacious basement aka man cave ( insert eye roll). And yes, he would frequently get lost down there, much to my annoyance. During the summers, we basically lived in the basement , playing pool, table tennis, indoor camping, and uncountable games of tag and hide and go seek . We binged on movies and played video games in to the wee hours of the night . When we were expecting our daughter, I was thrilled beyond my wildest dreams, to finally be able to decorate the PINK-est nursery I could envision.

We created memories with our kids , parents, family and friends . We shared some of our lowest lows and highest highs in that home... if only walls could talk! In the summer, we barbecued every evening after work , played soccer/badminton and made smores at the fire pit. Our neighborhood was infamous for it’s festive and wild holiday parties (the street name Legends was quite befitting) . More recently, our close friends ( now endearingly aka the Griswold’s of NJ) brought it honorable recognition by hosting an annual charitable event through the holidays .The cars would line up, spilling beyond our cul de sac for all to view the spectacular display . I had an epiphany the other day ... what if our old neighbors became reality TV celebrities one day!? Maybe we could do a cameo appearance! In all seriousness, we had ( have) wonderful friends and colleagues, like family that we miss dearly and will forever remain grateful for. I miss my brother and sister in law’s impromptu visits from Virginia since they were a mere few hours driving distance . They seem so far away now. I also have to give a special shout out to my sisters from another mother...I love you girls! You know who you are. All of these precious individuals were our “ village“ , in the FULL meaning of the word . This deserves more of an explanation and will part 2 of this tribute. In the end, through our nth move, we realize now more than ever, that US together can make any place a home. Even though things didn’t happen exactly when and how we had imagined ( hence, life), it is also immensely comforting that our beloved, faithful home was eventually found by a family who seems to already love it as much as we do. Good bye dear home. You are in good hands.

The significance of a cup of tea: If you saw it, it may look like just an ordinary cup of tea to you. But to me, it means so much more. You know, how in any relationship, especially between spouses, we start developing little , benign, defense mechanisms? Like those lines we use to get out of doing something that we don’t necessarily want to do? I may pretend, for pure example, that I have no clue on how to fix a computer glitch or set up the new TV console. In the same sense, I realize my husband got smart at some point about tea. Yes, tea. We are both Nepali and we love our tea. My dear mother in law brings us bags and bags of our favorite coveted tea from half way around the world when she visits us . I mean, we make do with coffee at times but I have a strong preference for tea. I’m you have seen my posts on social media, you how much I adore my tea. They say the best meals are those that you don’t have to prepare. Well, the best cup of tea is often the one that you don’t have to make, especially early in the morning. Now don’t get me wrong, my husband and I have our self-designate roles in the house ( although we both have our views and might disagree about who does more, although it should be a no-brainer). I enjoy cooking and baking ( some days more than others). When I am inspired, I enjoy being creative in the kitchen and even involving the kids. The act of brewing tea, to me, is almost a cathartic experience. I have made tea since medical school. My friends used to come over to my dorm room for fresh, piping hot, ginger tea and some giggles, to revive our frazzled minds after a long day of lectures or while we were burning the midnight oil for finals the next day. I rush home from work now to do the same, even though I know I probably shouldn’t be drinking tea that late in the evening, and barely manage a few sips. The thing is, it requires patience as there is no rushing the process but it is all worth it when that magnificent relaxing aroma fills the air. On the weekends , in the mornings and after our daughter naps, I make tea in large mugs and it just gives me a sense of peace and calm. It is my me-time. I feel like I do it more for the process sometimes then for the actual tea. On some days, I find myself heating my cup repetitively because it keeps growing cold and I have rushed around the house thinking of 1 million other things to do.But it is faithful and there when I need it. Going back to the story, I remember during residency, when we are working 80 hour weeks and newlyweds then, my husband would wake me up with coffee in bed. Sigh! He is much more of a morning person than I will ever be but then again , he has the talent of being able to nap at odd hours of the day. Anyway, that cuppa Joe in it’s warmth and sweetness, is what gave me the much needed fuel I needed to drag myself up and start another grueling day . Little did I realize, then, that those were the golden days . All we had to think about, was ourselves and even with the exhaustion and difficult times during training, somehow, the burdens didn’t seem as heavy and the stakes weren’t so high.

Then, our family grew, kids happened and there was a change in dynamics and a shift in the roles somewhat.Or maybe I just grew up. Over the years, I found myself making ginger tea or “chia”, if you will, and dominating and seizing the majority of the culinary responsibilities. My husband, bless his heart, has a limited menu of what he can (or will?) prepare. I have now become accustomed to his weekend omelettes, on those days that he is not working in the hospital. Unbeknownst to him, I have been cunningly trying to teach him every chance I get, how he too could learn to prepare this wonderful beverage that we both love. That way, I could enjoy it with my breakfast on those special days, as an icing on my cake. I’ve been persistent but it didn’t work for years. However, last weekend something seems to have clicked in his clever mind, as I very emphatically demonstrated the process to him for the nth time. A breakthrough of some sort transpired, I imagine! Fast forward to this weekend, voila! I woke up to amazing, very gingery tea ( because if you know him like I do, you know that he does not do anything half-#%£ or small ) to accompany my scrumptious breakfast.This was smack in time for our 13 th wedding anniversary . I feel compelled to add, that we actually don’t make too much of a fuss for our anniversary since we’ve actually known each other since we were carefree, oblivious teenagers. I praised him as if he had discovered the vaccine for Covid 19. He joked that he may soon conveniently “forget” how to make it and we laughed. I reminded him that there was absolutely no going back now, because a girl’s gotta have her tea!

IG: @rheumiemama

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