Starting Over

Discovering myself, my family and friends in a foreign land, second time around


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Wish I had written that

I came across Phyllis Theroux’s memoir The Journal Keeper earlier this year.

Her words about her mother and her new life as a divorced mom of three children gave me inspiration and a desire to put down my thoughts in a time of personal transition.

Here I would like to share some of the gems and a video link to the interview with the author.

About mothers/mothering

When I think about why people have children, I realize how little it should have to do with the future. If, before any children were conceived, we knew that our reward for raising them would be perhaps several phone calls a month, a very occasional visit, and the sense of having once been important in their lives, we might not do it. But if we realize that the rewards are given during the raising, we will calculate the cost differently. My children have taught me more than I have taught them, given me more joy than I have given them, and their not being present or even much aware of me now does not alter this.

About love

One of the strongest illusions in life is that another person’s love will liberate us. The illusion is hard to let go of, even when one lover after another has disappeared, because while they are present they do set us temporarily “free”. We do feel as if we are more talented and lovable and then they turn away and stop loving us, and we realize how much our balloon depended upon their hot air.

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Who’s counting

coffee cansI exercise regularly but don’t calculate the calories burnt. I walk everyday but do not own a pedometer to tell me exactly how many steps. I monitor my body weight but do not have a weighing scale at home. I look healthy and feel good. I just don’t have the numbers to back it up.

I am not on Facebook. I don’t know if people would care about my trip to Prague or my Prada bag (fictitious examples of course). Their “likes” do not determine my next holiday or shoe purchase.

I do not have hundreds of connections on LinkedIn. It doesn’t affect me professionally because people who are looking for me, find me, even without a LinkedIn invite.

I don’t count as friends people who remember my birthday from social media prompts or database reminders. And I don’t think poorly of those who always seem to get the date wrong, but show up whenever I need their support.

Such was my simple un-quantified life until I started writing this blog.

Now I spend time on my writing but also on checking my stats. I am concerned about the lack of response to some posts and am surprised at the number of likes for another. As a reader, I wonder about hundreds of comments to mediocre posts and worry about the gems I might be missing. I am anxious because I am not using my blog to “build my platform” on social media. I receive advice about leveraging other tools to publicize my presence. My pathetic number of followers and likes can mean only thing – I am a flop.

I feel like Alice in Wonderland. How did I get to be a numbers-obsessed blogger when all I wanted to do was write in a public space? Express myself in a milieu where other writers share their work in a virtual community.

As a scientist, I should love measurement and the unambiguous conclusions that numbers can provide. I do. What I do not appreciate is the quantitative oversimplification of life by using numbers.

Do you see yourself as more popular today because your social media post got more likes? Do you consider yourself more successful the day after your video (or photo or essay) goes viral? Are your thoughts of value only when endorsed by many others? Do you really believe that “if you cannot measure it, it doesn’t exist”? Is your life worthy of living even if it goes unnoticed by the masses?

Life, your life, is not a game of numbers. A longer life is not always a better one. A thicker book holds no more wisdom that a sheet of paper. Better to pen a blog post that marks a personal breakthrough even if it is viewed by only a few than pander to popular demand and feel hollow inside.

When DQ was little, I looked up infant growth charts to track her progress. With each passing month it seemed like her height was stagnant, her weight was dropping and her head circumference was below the minimum number! As per the charts, my child’s growth was sub-optimal. Therefore I reached the logical conclusion that I was a complete failure as a mother. Fortunately, the wise pediatrician first pointed out that the chart was not strictly applicable to a child of Indian origin since the underlying data came from a different racial demographic. More importantly, at each visit, she showed me how DQ was holding up her head, rolling over, responding to verbal cues and doing what she should be doing. In short, DQ was thriving.

I learnt then that my assessment of my child (my product, in some ways) and my responsibility to her (my mothering ability) was a very subjective and extremely personal matter that could not be distilled into simple numbers and plotted on a graph. All the statistics in the world could not describe my joy when DQ took her first step. The day she called me “Mama” didn’t matter to others but made me feel like a million bucks (in the days before a million views).

“What we know matters but who we are matters more.” Brene Brown

Yes, data is useful. It provides information. Not necessarily insight.

The quality of our life is expressed by our feelings, not described numerically. Pursuit of larger numbers and better stats may provide a context for your life but not it’s meaning. That is embedded in one-off moments, which are intensely private, celebrated in intimate settings and valued at an individual level.

A close, loving family; a few concerned friends; some interested readers – I will take these any day over a thousand distant strangers.

But who’s counting?


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My mane girl

I step into her room at 6.45 a.m., like I always do, to wake her up on schooldays. Princess is lying face down on the edge of her pillow with Bobby the stuffed dog peeking out of the crumpled sheets. Her hair is a dark halo around her head. I touch her shoulder.

“Five more minutes” she mutters. As I try to step out, she grabs my hand and pats the space beside her. I acquiesce. I run my fingers through her hair as she grabs the last few minutes of sleep, trying to finish the dream starring teenaged Greek demigods.

A year ago, DQ, Princess and I got haircuts on the day we boarded the flight to Singapore, to join my husband, Princess’ father, to begin life as a new family. At the salon, I noticed how thick her hair was; a legacy from her deceased mother, I assumed. She gamely agreed to the short bob suggested by the hairdresser, pleased with the extra attention. She looked cute, a little older, more sophisticated than her ten years.

DQ has thin, straight hair, like me (and my mother and maternal grandmother). DQ’s silky hair doesn’t tangle even after a rough night. She moved from a short style in kindergarten to long braids to finally settle upon a ponytail as her preferred hairstyle for school. I call her my little pony. One day in the park, a stranger asked her what shampoo she used. I took it as a personal compliment; after all, I was responsible for her general health and shiny hair! We went through a phase where she wanted curly hair. As a birthday treat, I took her to a salon where they twirled her hair around curlers and brushes, blow-dried and sprayed her cascade of hair and generated a few ringlets. DQ’s excitement lasted longer than her curls, which went back to their default position, like a dog’s tail, in less than 24 hours. DQ then started lobbying for getting highlights in her hair. A few streaks of honey blonde, or red – why won’t you let me, she wailed. We have agreed to revisit this issue after she turns eighteen.

In our blended family, the responsibility of caring for Princess’s thick tresses naturally fell on me since HH, like most fathers, is clueless in this regard. With my considerable expertise in this department, I thought this would be an easy task. Ha!

For tomboy Princess, hair care is the last item on her priority list. On good days, it’s a waste of time, similar to daily showers and on bad days, it is an enemy to be subdued if not attacked outright, like the monsters that her beloved hero Percy Jackson tackles. If she could have her way, she would leave her hair in an isolated quarantine facility, out of reach of well meaning but pushy family members. The first time I tried to comb her hair, she bolted out of the chair as if I had pronounced the need for a root canal. If brushing her hair was a chore, washing it was a punishment – for both of us. She hated having me hover around in the bathroom trying to shampoo her hair that had been tortured by basketball games in the humidity of hot Singapore afternoons and twenty laps in the pool.

Some of my favorite memories of childhood involve the time my mother spent rubbing coconut oil on my scalp, trying to cool my head from “all the studying”. I loved to sit on the floor as she combed my hair and braided it. This was my special time with her, time that I didn’t have to share with my brothers, time where I had access to my mother’s complete attention. While my DNA strands may connect me genetically with my mother, my hair strands connect me to my mother on a visceral level. These strands that she caressed and cared for were proofs of her affection and building blocks of our strong bond.

I desperately wanted Princess to allow me access to her tangled mass of hair, initially, to get her into a presentable form. Awful hair is a symbol of a mother’s neglect. With immense patience (and a little bit of pressure from HH), I was able to convince her to sit still while I combed out the tangles. I told about my petite grandmother with waist length shiny silver hair who looked like a character from a fairy tale. She showed me her baby pictures with a head full of hair on her newborn head. DQ shared her admiration for a friend who had recently had her head shaved for a good cause. In the context of bad hair days, Princess told us the story of Medusa. The girls and I tried out a few shampoos and conditioners until we found the right one. As her hair grew, we bought accessories and tried new styles. Over time her hair transformed from battlefield to bonding opportunity. Each morning before school when she asks “Can you comb my hair?” I know we have turned a corner.

I pull my fingers out of her hair and Princess stirs to an instant state of wakefulness.

“Good morning. You look like Simba.”

“Why?’

“Look at your hair” I say. She smiles.

“See what I found in your hair” I show her the pink clip that has been in her hair all night.

“In my mane, you mean” she says with an impish grin.

“That’s right. DQ is my little pony but you are my mane girl,” I say as I hug her and pull her out of bed. We laugh.


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Pretty happy girls

girl faceWe had an emergency last week.

Princess (age 11) had to be sent to school with her annual day costume and “full stage makeup”. We had no makeup at home!! Not the heavy makeup required for stage performances. We had no makeup at all. No foundation, no pressed powder, no mascara, no eye shadow, no lipstick!

For a household of four with three females including one teenager, you would think we would be better equipped for just this type of situation. But we were not prepared.

As the Mama Bear, I ensure we always have fresh home-cooked food, for us and for friends who may drop by. We make room for unexpected guests who may wish to stay over. We have books to read and lend. There is music to lift your spirits and a willing ear if you need one. DQ helps create colorful rangolis for Diwali and Princess makes rainbow loom wristbands and earrings for friends. We dress modestly and spend moderately. But when it comes to adorning ourselves with cosmetics we are severely lacking. And it’s totally my fault.

I grew up in an era where makeup was used only by movie stars. Makeup was a luxury available to a few. Growing up in Mumbai which has two levels of humidity – monsoon (100%) and pre-monsoon (90%), makeup was not even practical. Why pay big bucks to put stuff on your face that will run down in rivulets within minutes? My mother didn’t color her hair or visit a beauty salon all her life. I lived with two brothers who wouldn’t give me a second glance even if I had horns poking out of my head. I figured fairly early on that in order to get attention, I would need to work on stuff that would last longer than mascara in the Mumbai heat.

Over the years, as I lived in other places, I acquired products that served the basic purpose of hygiene and personal grooming. My stash of beauty products includes common stuff like shampoo, conditioner and body lotion. I use sunblock everyday and a moisturizer for my dry skin at night. I apply kajal (kohl) to my eyes occasionally and colorless (cheap) lip balm as needed. I choose from this small list when I step out to meet clients, hang out with buddies or attend parties.

I have spent all my adult years staying away from chemical cosmetics that embellish only the surface. I dislike lipstick. I cannot stand strong perfume. I don’t have the patience for eyeliner or a fascination for eye shadow. I prefer to let my skin breathe instead of layering foundation and concealer over it. I live a basic “earth mother” life which is authentic to me.

But have I done right by my girls?

I was stumped that day. I felt foolish, incompetent, out of touch with today’s world. I was caught off-guard, shocked at missing something obvious and necessary for life. Like salt in the pantry, I seemed to have forgotten a common but critical item normally found in a women-centric household. What would my husband think of this lapse? How could I approach other women to lend me stuff just to tide me over? How would Princess feel when she showed up at school with a bare but clean face? I was such a loser.

There was a time when DQ loved putting lipstick on her face (not just her lips!), using the makeup samples that came with the moisturizer I bought at Macys. DQ and I spent a few hours painting our nails at Frankfurt airport one night when our flight to San Francisco was delayed. She would apply eye shadow to her cheeks and eyelids, wear her Snow White outfit, step into plastic high heels and hold court with her stuffed toys. Somewhere in the years between five and fifteen she stopped playing dress up. I threw the old cosmetics out and didn’t buy new ones.

My daughters don’t have access to makeup at home. Will that be a long-term handicap for them? There is enough pressure through peers and media to look pretty, to focus on the superficial, to be obsessed with image, not achievement. Will they secretly try makeup outside the house? Will they harbor an unnatural attraction for cosmetics on the rebound? Would they turn into social misfits in their adulthood? Do they resent me for not stocking up on makeup essentials at home?

I had an hour to get Princess ready for the school program. The questions could wait. DQ looked through her supplies and found eyeliner. I handed out my lip balm. I combed her hair and helped her into her costume. Princess looked in the mirror, proclaimed “I look weird,” and rubbed her eyes. Now she looked like a raccoon. I mopped the soot off her eyelids. She looked fine. And set off happily for school.

“Should I buy some makeup this weekend?” I asked my husband.

“Why?”

“Didn’t you see what just happened? It was so awkward for me, not having makeup at home.”

“All of you look great without it. I am very proud of my women.”

That made me really happy. And proud, of my girls, who also prefer to let themselves be seen as they are, happy in their skin.

I may not have makeup to share with my daughters, but I want to share these words by Audrey Hepburn:

“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”


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A mom who cries

I never saw my mother cry.

Ok, I did. Just once.

I must have been eighteen then. I had been offered a chance to get into a college to pursue an education in engineering. It was a substantial achievement at a time when engineering degrees were relatively rare in India. My mother wanted me to accept the offer. “Engineering is not for girls,” said my father. “But it’s your daughter who has done well enough to get in, not your son” she countered. And so the argument progressed, culminating in my mother’s tears. I can still see my mother wiping away her tears with the edge of her sari, her head hung low, apologizing silently for not winning this battle for me.

As it turns out, I didn’t become an engineer. But the real story is not about career choices and gender roles. The real story lies in all the days that my mother didn’t cry. She didn’t cry from exhaustion on mornings she woke up early in order to get the day started for the family, preparing meals, organizing school uniforms, helping with homework, tending to our minor illnesses and major tantrums. She didn’t give in to tears on days she handled an aging mother and mother-in-law while my father was away at work. She didn’t collapse in a puddle of self-pity during the times she heard rude and hurtful words from her three teenage children.

The advent of menopause signaled the beginnings of arthritis in her knees. Were there days when she felt excessively emotional as her hormones went haywire? I couldn’t tell. What about the pain while walking up the stairs in an apartment building without elevators? She never complained. The Mumbai heat and humidity was unrelenting but I don’t remember her seeking help for hot flashes. Diwali decorations on the doorstep that involved kneeling on the floor to draw elaborate rangolis? She did it each year. Wading through knee-deep water during Mumbai monsoons so she could pay my college fees on time? I knew Mom would do it. Appointment with the oncologist for grandma on the other side of the metropolis at 10 a.m.? Mom would take her.

Like many women, my approach to mothering is heavily influenced by my mother’s parenting style. But I fail in one aspect. I cry. Not often. Just sometimes.

Tears are a symptom. Wipe the tears but treat the cause.

My mother’s unspoken mantra.

I cried when I missed many days of school due to malaria, worried about my performance in the impending exams. She copied pharmacology notes for me while I recovered.

I cried when I had trouble conceiving after my first miscarriage. She held my hand as I entered the operating room at Georgetown for the surgery that would later help me get pregnant.

I cried when I moved out of my husband’s home, not sure of the road that lay ahead as a single parent. She stayed with me until I figured things out.

I was raised in a home where the boys and the girls didn’t cry.

I wanted to be like her, stoic and steadfast. To take everything in stride and ride through life with a strong will and dry eyes. I didn’t cry when I left India as a young bride, the first person in my family to board an international flight. I didn’t cry when I faced hurdles during my years at graduate school. I didn’t cry when I had trouble finding my first job. Professional setbacks I can handle. It’s personal disappointments that ignite my tears. I cry when I am hurt, when I feel helpless, a victim of injustice of the Universe and its people. When I am unable to separate the emotion that fuels the tears from the action that can dissolve them. The tears fall, usually unseen by others. At times, it is a welcome release. At others, it tastes bitter, like defeat. Mothers don’t cry.

Are tears proofs of my failure? Symbols of my incompetence? Embodiment of my inability to rise to the standard set by own mother?

But isn’t crying part of being human? Isn’t it wrong to curb our humanness?

My mom never really voiced a stance against crying. Instead of saying “stop crying and do what needs to be done”, she lived a life where the focus was on doing; showing up, helping out. We learnt to articulate our needs and reach out for help instead of succumbing to tears as an indication to others to figure out what was wrong. Tears were not clues for discovering, tears were not tools for manipulating. Mom just bypassed the teary stage and went right into the next stage of setting things right. Her humanity circumvented the teary path.

What do I do now? I am not my mother; not as stoic, not as stern. I weep for beautiful poetry and at poignant movie scenes. I am dry-eyed at airports and in emergency rooms. I shed tears when a piece of music moves me and clam up when I stub my toe. I cried most when my mother died. I don’t know if she would have approved. But I know something she doesn’t. I saw her face wet with tears in the delivery room moments before DQ was born. She cried not for my pain, but for my joy at becoming a mother, and for the journey ahead of me.

I know that mothers do cry.


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How I miss my mother

What does little birdie say

In her nest at peep of day?

Let me fly, says little birdie

Mother, let me fly away

Birdie, rest a little longer

Till the little wings are stronger

So she rests a little longer

Then she flies away

 

What does little baby say

In her bed at peep of day?

Baby says, like little birdie

Let me rise and fly away

Baby, sleep a little longer

Till the little limbs are stronger

If she sleeps a little longer

Baby too shall fly away

I heard this poem first from my mother. I recently learnt that these words are part of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s work “Sea Dreams.” I did not study English literature in college and I knew Amma had pursued a graduate degree in Mathematics. How did she remember these words so clearly then? As if she had memorized them in her childhood, like nursery rhymes that linger through the decades of ones life. I wish I could call her and ask. I miss my mother when I read beautiful poetry and prose.

A visiting relative once casually labeled be as “minus” while counting my two brothers as “plus”, a fairly common occurrence in a culture that favors sons. After he left, I asked with a small voice whether that was true, was I a liability? “No”, she emphatically replied, “you are my one and only special daughter. Let him think what he wants to, I think you are the best”. I miss my mother the tigress who protected me from unkind people and harsh words.

I had to be at Andheri station on time to catch the 6.03 a.m train in the thick humidity of Mumbai in May. The Churchgate local train ensured my early morning attendance at the extra classes during summer holidays the year I was 17. Each day I slept through the shrill ringing of the alarm but never missed the train. I miss my tender mother who stroked my hair and woke me up softly each morning.

When DQ was 4, each Saturday morning I would write for an hour, attend yoga class, start a load of laundry and put away the groceries I picked up on the way home so I could be fully present when my little girl woke up. I miss my practical mother who taught me how to be efficient in and out of the house.

We are in the midst of festival season. The house has to be cleaned, fruits and flowers have to be bought, sweets have to be made, friends have to be invited and religious rituals need to be completed. On special days I read the prayers from the books I took away from my parent’s home. I want DQ and Princess to be aware of traditions that will anchor them and build cohesion into our family. I miss my mother’s daily prayers, which showed me how faith is built in small steps.

My music teacher insists that we perform as a group at the annual celebrations at the institute. I am scared. Did I get the notes right? Does it sound good? How can I improve? I need honest feedback from someone who knows enough to give appropriate inputs, someone to encourage but not praise me falsely and breed complacence. I miss my mother when I need support.

Most of all I miss being loved for just being me, the way only a mother loves her child.

I fully agree with Maya Angelou who said “I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.”

I have missed my mother and managed without her for six years. Six years in which my life turned around 180 degrees. In that year, I lost her and dissolved my marriage of almost 18 years. Amma had been keen that I marry young – “so you could have children at a young age and get on with your life”. She had worried whether they could find me a suitable groom had I continued with my plans of higher education. She suffered through my tears and disappointment when I underwent painful medical treatment for my infertility. She held my hand through the hours of labor that preceded DQ’s birth. She stayed up all night to help me care for a newborn. Amma was that constant presence in my life that I took for granted, like sunshine. I was never really alone, even when thousands of miles separated us in those pre-internet days, when I lived in America and she in India. I was always in tune with her, like a radiofrequency. She could sense my mood through a bad telephone connection. She knew what to say. Sometimes it was practical information (how to make soft idlis), sometimes it was philosophical advice (even this will pass!) and occasionally she would send me thoughtful gifts (the hard to find pressure cooker gasket of the right size).

Although it was Woody Allen who said “80 percent of success is showing up”, Amma was the one who practiced the showing up bit, by spending high quality “quantity time” with us. When Princess comes back from school and shares the highlights of her day, when DQ sits next to me with her laptop seeking my advice on school projects, when HH and I watch “House of Cards” before dinner on weeknights, I understand the value of her actions. I can feel her smiling at my new homemaker avatar.

On days when DQ and I find ourselves on opposite sides of an argument, I often wonder, what would she say? “Be gentle with her. When children become as tall as you, you need to be more of a friend and less of a parent”.

I miss her as a daughter and I miss her as a mother of daughters.

Will my daughters perceive the value of my presence? My words? My actions?

However tough the transition maybe, Tennyson’s poem celebrates the natural order of things, little birds leaving the nest when they grow. A quiet pride accompanies the twinge of loss, of continuous contact, of constant nurturing. Losing parents, on the other hand, is a seminal event and a logical one in a life that runs its course. How do I deal with this loss? How do I handle this intermittent but powerful undercurrent of grief that tugs every so often? How do I cope without the supporting roots that allowed me first to fly away?

Grief can be a catalyst. It can be a raging fire that can cleanse or a brilliant heat that can change.

As Sue Monk Kidd says “I should let myself grieve. To deny grief is to squander a transforming and radiant possibility.”

I wonder if Amma would agree. I wish I could call her and ask. And while I am at it, I could get the recipe for her lemon pickle.


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What faith looks like

“She discovered with great delight that one does not love one’s children just because they are one’s children but because of the friendship formed while raising them.” – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

DQ turns 17 today. Each year on her birthday I think back to our first day together.

Twelve hours after her arrival, baby DQ slept beside me, tired from the journey across the birth canal. I admired her cone-shaped head, puffy face and the mass of black hair that peeked from under the yellow cap. Stiffly swaddled in blankets, she was the little angel I had waited for. In the labor room, there had been tears at the first sight of a fully formed healthy baby, shaky hands cutting the umbilical cord and unbridled jubilation. Now it was night and I was alone with my baby, the one who had always been with me, first as a gleam in my eye, then as an intense yearning and later as the bump with octopus-like arms and legs that kicked me at regular intervals just under my ribs. Here she was, visible and tangible, not just the black and white ultrasound picture but a breathing, moving live baby. I dozed off with her warmth in the crook of my arm, smiling. I woke up to a gentle wiggling at my side. It was DQ trying to snuggle further into my body. Sensing my movement she looked up. Our eyes met. And she looked straight at me and through me, a wide-eyed stare made all the more vivid by her unblinking focus.

Do I know you? You sure seem familiar. Have we met before? Why are you looking at me like that? Stop it.

We both echoed each other’s thoughts. A little tentative, a little scared, unsure of each other’s abilities and potential. In that instant, we made a silent commitment to each other.

lotusHow will I bring up this child? I wondered aloud. There is no training or preparation for being a good parent. Have faith, said my mother. You will know what needs to be done. With guidance from a deeply embedded genetic memory of having been a loved baby once, my mother’s physical presence and an instinctive understanding, the years went by.

Today DQ and I communicate through phone messages, slammed doors, raised eyebrows and rolling eyes. We bicker, I nag, she clams up. Sometimes she speaks. Standing on the threshold of adulthood is not easy. Changing families, making friends, finding her way in a new country and planning ahead for life is a lot to deal with.

How do I help my child? I wonder silently. Have faith whispers my mother. Scattered memories of her loving presence and patience jump up from hidden recesses of the conscious mind. What is faith?

How do you explain faith to a teenager? It is easier to convince a child. Children are naturally trusting, eternally optimistic. The teenage years are the ones where the hard kernel of cynicism that adults try to cover up, is exposed unashamedly. Being contrary counts, falling in line is lame and debating each point is a right that is fully exercised.

How do you describe that faith is the color of falling rain on barren land? The droplets measured in tears of frustration and grief.

How do you communicate that faith is the sound of sweet nothings that you wish your sweetheart will fill your ears with? The syllables jumbled but clear in their intent.

How do you transmit the fragrance of hope that forms the wellspring of faith and teases you with promises of wishes soon to be fulfilled? The delicate scent heady and insistent.

How do you reveal the flavor of faith that each one must discover, combining individual insights and experiences to workout a philosophy of the self?

And finally, faith that covers you up like a warm embrace when all other pretensions are shed, when people give up, when the odds are stacked against you?

Have faith, I want to tell DQ.

Faith, is what made me visit the reproductive endocrinologist my infertile friend recommended after she became a mother.

Faith, is that little bundle placed in my arms by the hospital staff, believing that I will do right by this child.

Faith, is the words of a friend who replied “don’t worry, they grow up on their own” when I expressed concern over handling this tiny life.

Faith is staying with your dream, assured that you will be guided.

Faith is knowing you will pass an exam without knowing all the answers.

Faith is in embarking on a path different from the well-trodden one knowing that your journey will be different but worthwhile.

What does faith look like?

To me, dear daughter, faith looks – like you.

I hope you will see it too.

Happy Birthday!!

 

A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but on her own wings. Always believe in yourself.” ― Unknown