Brownness

On Anniversaries and Birthdays

This past weekend, I got the chance to celebrate my nephew’s first birthday, and the sheer amount of kids that attended got me thinking that soon there will be a new addition to these events. My son. Its strange to say those words. I never imagined in a million years that would be a possibility. i think due to that I put so much energy in other children, from my numerous nephews and nieces to the kids of my children. I am blessed to be the Godfather to several of them, and I willingly accepted that role. And now I get to pick someone. For my son. The words boggle the soul.

And then the celebration for Ezra, a cute boy who never stops smiling, and I can’t wait for our son to meet him because I know they will be close. I also hope my son learns a lot of his behaviors from him. Ezra’s parents provided my wife and I generous access to their children, going above and beyond to ensure my wife has a beautiful relationship with her niece, and now her nephew. It has a joy to see my wife smile when she sees their faces, and the reciprocity from the kids.

Which brings me to the gentle sadness knowing my father will never experience his grandson, and my son will never get to know Papa the way he should. It hurts to remember that yet another year has passed since he has been gone,. and I still feel the same as the day he left when I let myself. The mornings are the best and worst because in the dawn’s quiet are when I let myself feel everything. It is the early darkness that my heart unclenches, and for those brief hours I feel it all. From joy, worry to sadness to getting ready for the day.

More and more, I get quiet, but I also know that silence does not have always serve me so I seek safe spaces to express myself. It is a journey I am still on, but maybe, some day I can speak out loud: I miss you, Papa. I am sorry,Papa. I wish you could meet your grandson. And then the sun rises, and I begin my day.

Brownness

An Unexpected Weekend

Having just come back from a whirlwind trip, I looked forward to a quiet weekend with plans of not doing anything. Of course, word came down that one of my dear friends was having get together for his birthday on Friday, and I HAD to go since I’d missed so many other events, and so began an epic night that will live on in memories for a long time to come. Not much happened except for a lot of shit talking, drinking and then driving to another bar to do it all over again.

Nothing like going out with a former fire marshal and two police officers to make you realize professions don’t matter when you truly enjoy each others company. It reinforced me for yet again that Crossfit is more than just a place to get fit or do hard workouts, but I found myself a community of friends that will be in my life for a long time to come.

I assumed Friday would be the extent of the weekend until my wife reminded me we had a 40th birthday event to attend, unique because of a party, it was a 4 hour cruise at Marina Del Rey, and yet again, I was transported to a new place with old friends who have been in our lives for years. Not only was the boat an amazing experience, but spending time with friends we had not seen in a while made the day even more special.

As Baby Boy gets closer, I know these times will become precious and there will be celebrations but different kinds, however I know all these people will remain in my life, and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

Happy Monday!

Brownness

On New Challenges

As I get closer to the day baby boy is born, excitement and anxiousness have become my close friends. There are days where I feel completely lost, and then other days where I feel that just like all other challenges, this too can be handled, except they involve another human. No more hypotheticals on what kind of father I will be or need to be. I have to now consider all my choices and opinions a lot more carefully.

It is a constant fact that I will be an older father, which means more experience, but also means I get to step up my stamina, parenthood will be be the ULTIMATE crossfit workout. Even based on that lazy metaphor, I know I have some time to warm up (not much), and to get my head ready, but the best part is that it will be partner workout. I know we will support each other, and it will take lots of communication.

Better yet, its a team sport as both of our families will also be there are guides, coaches, and the occasional break givers. Not to mention our friends who are already jostling for time with baby boy, and all of it comforts me, lets me know that even when I fall (and I will fall), there will be others to pick me up, to show me the way, to soothe the hurt feelings, to let know that all of this is a continual learning process, that there are more than one way to do things, and there is no one ultimate right way as long the child grows in love.

The lull before the storm is MY time to get ready as best as I can, to ensure I truly partner with my wife so she knows she is not in this alone, that she can count on me, that I will not let my fears or worries be the reason for inaction. I get to MOVE, to LEARN, to ADAPT, and so this week becomes the beginning of a another leg of the journey, and I CANNOT wait.

Happy Monday!

Brownness

On Returning Home

Jetlag my new best friend, but the heart is still full of recent memories. Ten days that included two countries, half a dozen occasions, far too much food and drink but even more memories and lessons for the future. The wife and I went to Madrid at the last minute, and now I know that a little bit of planning, of asking questions, of setting expectations go a long way in having a great trip. A beautiful country where I learned the meaning of partnership, and the ability to say the words I don’t know and seek support. To apologize when I had unsaid expectations or just wanted something different. She stood by me even at my lowest, and brought me up with understanding and explaining what needed to happen. Great training for our coming parenthood where we share roles and duties and not just one person has to do it all or do one specific things.

And then we stepped into 7 magical days of sheer family time with dozens of family members (more than a hundred actually), and I remembered the value of why we try so hard to attend far away weddings. From hanging with cousins and relative I hadn’t seen in years to getting to know new relations. This was a celebration that set the standard. Every single thing was thought of, not just the events, but the in between time for the next event. The only cost was our flights as my cousin and his family ensured we had nothing else to worry about. That kind of love only comes unconditionally.

The sheer magnitude of their efforts and my sister just blew me away, and then barely landing and we hit another milestone with my wife turning 40 and still not looking a day over 21, and the sheer amount of gratitude for my life takes my breath away (just like she does).

And so I still here, still reliving all the memories, and I look forward to the future!

Brownness

On Becoming a Father

There are things that I always thought I would be, but life continued in a way that I let go of those expectations. Little did I realize that I had beside me a partner who would not allow me to let go of my dream of becoming a parent. I admit, one of the scariest things is that I will be now be a father at 50 and already my fear is that I want to ensure my son has all that he needs to face the world. I worry I may not be there for his entire journey, but then again my partner looks at me with her determined gaze, and I let go of all this and get ready to take the plunge.

It awes me still that my wife is open about our journey of surrogacy, and wants others in our community to be aware that there are other options other than natural pregnancy. It takes vulnerability and courage to share something so intimate, and I look at my wife and our families and the cocoon of love they provided that allowed us to make this fantasy into a reality. To say, we did this by ourselves would be plain denial. As they say, it takes a village, and we can say with pride that we got that covered.

I also use my fears to push me to work out, new reasons to get endurance rather than just do a marathon or keep up with my crossfit friends. I have a son coming soon who will challenge me in every way so I better get ready physically, emotionally and spiritually. No longer can I snooze or be tired because tired will be the status quo (as I have been reminded myriads of times).

But the joy of becoming a father is settling in, and I look forward to the challenges with a smile because I know those are the normal pre race jitters, I know we provide him with a loving home, amazing families and friends, and he will know he is not alone. He will know unconditional love just like we have, and I fall in love deeper with my wife who made this happen through her sheer will.

Papa is here, son. He’s got you.

Brownness

On Unsaid/Unmet Expectations

This past month I finished I finished Brene Browns Atlas of the Heart which struck a deep chord inside me as it discussed that much of our conflict with loved ones occurs due to unsaid or unmet expectations. It takes time, presence, patience, and taking a deep look at ourselves to determine that the fight over connection is truly about. When our significant other asks for something, and we resist or dismiss the request, what else is really going on there?

I know I like to avoid conflict, yet that avoidance does not serve me in my relationships as it can make others feel not heard or seen. It is painful to be called out, or hear grievances, and far too often, I am too busy preparing a counterpoint rather than listening for the unsaid or unmet expectation. And it goes the other way, too. When I fail to express what I truly feel or state my expectation, it sets up perfectly an argument that is all surface, mean-spirited, and unhelpful, adding layers on unnecessary pain and hurt instead of providing the relief of true communication.

None of what I read was new, but I know constant reminders of better communication is the only way to build the muscle for connection. I get to learn to not hide or avoid, to make the eye contact even as my body floods with emotions, and I just want to run away or become a quiet ninja. It did not occur to me how painful that can be for the other who is trying to share their feelings.

It is always a challenge to put to practice new or difficult things, and I realize just like working out physically, connected communication requires continual work, and sharing. It is also important to let the other know what you are up to so they can hold you accountable, and perhaps, just maybe, do the same when talking to you. Just like anything, it takes time, and also constant awareness, but I also know the rewards of doing the work.

And so I begin, and hopefully, I can express my unmet/unsaid expectations and also hear the other persons.

Happy Monday!