Light the Night

Do you have childhood best friends? Like the type that you grew up with and is your  family even though you’re not actually related?

I grew up with a whole group of people like this thanks to our parents knowing each other since college and settling down in the same area.

One person, in particular, I had literally known since birth. His dad and my dad actually grew up in the same small town in India together so they had known each other their whole lives as well. He played the role of my brother in my wedding and I MC’d at his wedding. Needless to say, we had been through a lot of our ups and downs together.

One day, we found out he had lymphoma. He was in his 20s, just about to head into dental school. I remember that we had found out that he had felt something off in his lymph nodes and were waiting for the biopsy results. I remember coming out of the gym and getting a voicemail from my sister telling me the results were in. I remember calling her back and her telling me that it wasn’t good. I remember going home, changing, and heading straight to his house.

It was scary. It was something that we never thought about in our 20s.

He started chemo. It definitely took a toll. I wasn’t there for the every day but I do have one particular memory of him, I, and a third friend we had grown up with going to an Angels game together during this time. He was tired and he said he always had a metallic taste in his mouth. It honestly really sucked. But the mentality that we always had is that there was no other option and that he had to beat it.

And one day, he did. After that, he started organizing our family and friends together every year for a Light the Night walk. We are Team Unbreakable.

At Light The Night, it is our aim to bring light to the darkness of cancer through research and cures. Light The Night is a series of fundraising campaigns benefiting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) funding of research to find blood cancer cures. We bring hope instead of despair by working to ensure access to treatments for all blood cancer patients. We bring communities together to celebrate those who are fighting the disease and to honor those we have lost.

This year will be our 11th year walking together. It’s so amazing how something that was so hard has become such an inspiration. We hope this year, you’ll join us and donate to our team as well. We want to do everything we can in order to raise money to defeat cancer.

I hope you can find a way to help us out with our goal.

I’m Terrified Because I’m Brown

I haven’t written too much about politics because every type of article is already being written.

I did write a previous post about the tolerance for racism and hate that our president has.

I wanted to write this one based on how I’ve been feeling.

And to be honest, I’ve been scared. I’m an Asian Indian American who was born in Southern California and have lived here all my life. Not once in my 35 years on this planet have I been worried about how I was treated because of my ethnicity. I know that I’ve been lucky. I have family that has felt racism based on their skin color. I either have been oblivious or around so many different ethnicities that there hasn’t been room for that feeling of being judged.

I remember the election day and feeling like so much was riding on it. I could see all the way through it that racist people were given a pass for acting the way they wanted. I remember feeling terrified because I was worried about hate crimes occurring as soon as that election day was done.

And they did. It made me scared to leave my house. I have small kids and I don’t want to ever have to think that I’m putting their lives at risk. It’s sad to think that even with living in one of most the liberal and ethnically mixed areas in the country, I continue to worry about the type of people who don’t want those of us with a different skin color or religion here. I can’t even imagine what I would do if I didn’t live in an area like Southern California.

My family and I went out to dinner last week. I’m hyper aware of my surroundings in general but even more so than usual now. An older Caucasian man who was eating with his family kept looking over at my husband. I saw this and I couldn’t even imagine what he was thinking. I don’t believe that anything would have happened but the idea that someone didn’t want us to be there for no good reason did bother me. When the family finished, he got up and came over with his wife and told my husband that he was doing a great job handling our baby while trying to eat simultaneously and to enjoy the time because the kids grow up fast. It turns out that he was admiring our family.

It’s moments like these that remind me that as much as things have changed, nothing everything or everyone has. It reminds me that most people are still good people. It reminds me that there is still hope that this country will be a better place than it is right now.

But I’ll be honest. I’m terrified of how much we are going to have to deal with before we get to that place.

How Can I Become That Girl Who Has Everything?

Sometimes, I go through this thing where I want things to change but honestly, I don’t want to do any work to change them. Then, occasionally, motivation comes along and I manage to actually work on making the changes to help me achieve my goals. But, seriously, does it ever just seem like some people have it easier than others?

I know that everyone has a story we don’t know about. Everyone has “stuff”. It’s not necessarily the same as ours but it is there and it is valid. But still, it seems like things just fall into some people’s laps. You know that guy/girl. That one who has everything. That one who hasn’t really had a day of trouble or stress. That one who seems to have gotten everything handed to them and all the obstacles are usually more of a formality.

It doesn’t quite feel fair. Some people seem to have the looks, the intelligence, the talent, the personality. Why do I feel like I was shorted out on one or more of those things?

So what do we do? How can we make our life better? Happier? Perfect?

I don’t know for sure but I’m guessing that even almost all of those people had to work to get to where they are at. So that’s what we have to do. Work at it. If you’ve seen some of my recent posts about post-childbirth, I do talk about how I’ve been dealing with a lot of changes in my life and finding myself again has been work. I have been trying to put in my time though.

Life isn’t fair. And it’s not going to just hand you everything you want. You also have to find a way to appreciate the things that you do have. It’s so easy to see what you’re missing but, sometimes, you have so much that another person might really want in their life. Somehow, we have to learn to value these little things that do make things good for us.

Something my sister-in-law once said to me that stays with me all the time is “You are exactly where you are supposed to be”. It helps to ground me and make sure that I remember to live in the moment. Then, I don’t keep trying to watch what other people are doing and I only enjoy what I’m doing instead.

Life can be hard for most of us. It involves a lot of change that sometimes is expected, sometimes unexpected. We can only keep trying to improve ourselves and find our own happiness wherever we can. Once I start doing that, I might start seeing myself as that girl who has everything.

A Letter To My Child

To my baby,

I don’t know what to say. I can’t believe you’re here. I’ve been waiting for you for a long time. Your father and I had to go through a lot before you came but you’re here now. Our perfect little baby.

I finally know what it means to watch my heart walking around outside of my body. The first week or so, one of us had to stay awake while you slept because we wanted to make sure you were okay.  I didn’t know then what I know now,  that you are tougher than you look. But I still always worry when you’re not smiling at me. I still wake up at least 3 times a night to make sure you’re doing fine.

It’s been tough.  We are learning each other and teaching each other at the same time. There are days I’m completely frustrated and exhausted but then, you do something new that I’ve never seen before and forget everything and am in awe again.

I love to fact that you do smile at me now. It feels like you know who I am, even though I’m not sure if you do. I can’t wait to share more with you. I want to laugh with you, dance with you, live with you. I want to teach you everything I’ve learned so you don’t make the same mistakes. I want you to see the world in the best light possible. I want you to always be happy.

I can’t believe I’m writing this letter to you. I hope you get to read it some day. For now, I’ll settle for you being the love of my life. Thank you for coming to us.

Sometimes, It Is What It Is

Have you ever noticed when you don’t have such a good day that you start to wonder what happened? Sometimes, things don’t go well or you have a bad experience or sometimes, it’s just plain boredom that will drive you crazy. 

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received was “You are exactly where you are supposed to be”. This statement reminds me that when I’m struggling with something that there is probably a reason for it. I can usually figure out the reason in hindsight but at the moment, in the moment, I can’t see it at all. Remembering this statement allows me hold onto the idea that at some point, I’ll understand why I’m going through what I’m going through. 

I have these friends who are amazingly strong. They have families, full time jobs, health issues, new businesses, moves, the courage to stand up for themselves, and so much more. I watch them go through struggles where it’s not clear why they have to deal with what they are dealing with. Sometimes, it’s not about dealing with the present. It’s about seeing how it shapes your future. And sometimes, that one step you took to do something or to change something will create the present for you. I see the results their actions bring and it’s amazing how their tenacity has gotten them there. 

Eventually, everything makes sense. Look for one good thing in your present. There is probably a single point that you can trace that back to. And every experience you have had along the way contributed to that good thing. So when things happen and they don’t make sense, just know that this is what it is for right now. Live this moment as today and know it has a bigger purpose. Believe that someday that you will understand the path that has taken you where you will be in the future.