For My Kannamma

Happy birthday to my little girl – you gave me the most meaningful role in my life first, by choosing me as your mom.

I fell completely in love with you from the minute I saw your tiny silhouette in the ultrasound.

You amazed me the first time you called me “amma” –you were barely 9 months old, and imitating your cousins, but I knew you meant it.

With the way you recognized my touch, and my voice when you were barely 2 weeks old.

With the way you would pick out my shoes in a gathering of 10+ women and bring them to me when we were ready to leave. You were barely a year old!

When you smiled for the first time, like clockwork—you were 30 days old. We were giving you a bath.

And the compassion and the sensitivity that was beyond your 18 months, when we were in a car wreck, and you tried to console me!

With your uncanny, and slightly spooky ability to exactly say what I was thinking when you were 3 years old.

With your slightly crazy sense of humor.

With your hard work and dedication to anything you commit to.

With your determination and passion in your chosen line of helping autistic kids.

With your sharp mind, and the intellect that goes with it.

With your insanely strong hands!

With the love and bonding you have with Kashew, and the way you are raising him—someday, when you choose to have kids, I know you’ll make a fantastic mom!

Thank you, my baby, for letting me make all my first mistakes as a mom with you, and still loving me.

But, above all, for turning out to be a beautiful, kind and gentle human being!

Love you (and your brother) more than anything or anyone else in this world—even though you both think I love Kashew more than you two!

Happy birthday, kannamma! May all your dreams come true!

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Then And Now

Then, she was a normal teen.  Sleeping in till noon, didn’t know where anything was in the kitchen (for that matter, anywhere in the house), spirited arguments with mom.  Both my kids at one point believed I was the evil incarnate, and took to referring to me as satan, and Damien (after the evil child in the Omen series).  She recently told me “by the way, I still have your caller id saved as Damien in my cell”.  I seriously wondered how this child would ever survive in the real world.

Well, last week proved that not only she would, but would make us proud doing so.

I’m talking about my daughter, who is a 3rd year student in college.  She called my husband last week to tell him that she had just spent the entire afternoon weeding, cleaning up and planting grass and vegetables in the tiny yard she and her roommates share in the house they rent.   And she didn’t stop there.  She went on to tell him that she only knew how to do any of that because he had “made” her work in our yard.  Oh…you should have seen Raj’s face.  Bursting with pride.  Speechless with emotion.

And, since she was planning on a long 5 hour car trip during the weekend to see her high school friends, she took the car to the dealer, and had them check it out.  Unprompted.  Without us nagging.

Small, but absolutely satiffying returns on 20 years of hard parenting.

So, parents of teens who think they would never again be on speaking terms with their children, take heart.  There is light at the end of this long tunnel.

PS. I was mildly amused when she called me the next day and said “Oh I’m so glad it’s pouring here – I don’t have to water my plants.”  And had the grace to laugh at herself when I said the rain was probably washing away all the seeds she had painstakingly planted.

To my baby who’s growing up.