Brownness

A Fulfilling Weekend

Sitting in the morning quiet with a hot steaming cup of coffee, with Zyan sleeping peacefully near me, I could not help be filled with amazement as this previous weekend, Not only did he get to spend time with his cousins, but sharing his smile and his peacefulness with others brings it own type of joy. Watching my niece Maya sing to him and then feed him as she prepares for her wedding next week brought out a strange but powerful feeling inside me. I played with her the same way she did with Zyan. I remember holding and kissing her and making her laugh. I don’t remember a time when she did not smile when we met each other. And now she is getting married.

Just saying brings up flashes of mornings with Maya and now I realize that I am doing mornings with Zyan. The two are interrelated in a weird way because for me they were the first time I became a Mama and a Papa. Maya’s warmth came from her parents and their willingness to share her and allow her to be whatever she loved. Music was her passion from a young age, and even now its startling to remember I was there in the beginning when she began. I made one of my favorite songs hers to sing, and we will always have that connection.

So back to the weekend, prior to Maya, taking Zyan to see his other cousins also became a highlight as I saw my 4 year old niece Zara hold him and my one year old nephew Ezra gently pat him as if he instinctively knew to do that gesture. I cannot wait for Zyan and Ezra to become best friends. To learn from each other. To teach whatever unique things that come to their mind. And I keep switching between Maya, Zyan, Ezra and Zara and for a moment my world expands to a bigger heart, more love, more things to look forward, cementing my desire to be here for it all. To be the best version of myself so I can, in some small way, contribute to their lives like I did to Maya.

I cannot wait to see Maya married and have her begin her new life with her husband just I cant wait to see the relationships Zyan builds not just with this cousins but with the rest of the family. And these thoughts fill me with joy, gratitude, and impatience.

Happy Monday!

Brownness

Passage of Time

I have attended three funerals so far this month, and I am not counting the passing of my mamaji last month. Helplessness coursed through my body as I listened to the loved one speeches, each time brought back to my own loss. I cringe at my selfishness, to think of my losses rather than be fully present for ones recently gone, but that’s exactly not true either. Only in my own pain can I express the pain of losing yet another beautiful soul. This past weekend, the person that went on from this Earth was truly an amazing person. Again and again people remarked on her ever ready smile and the long fights she had with Cancer not once but multiple times. The fact she NEVER complained, EVER.

I choked up as my dear friend had only a few words to say but they haunted: my mom, the best mom. Hearing other stories about her, hearing my own mother speak there (something she is loathe to do in general), I know this is my new reality, Along with births, taking stock at funerals has become a norm. It just doesn’t make it any easier especially when it affects the ones you care for. Sitting in those pews again, I was reminded that there will be many more return trips, yet what made me smile was remember her smile, seeing how she was celebrated, yet there were tears, but there were also stories, moments, memories to cherish. Her legacy for all of us to see in her husband, children, grandchildren and community. She was rich in so much which is why it hurts more.

Losing someone is never easy, but losing someone who fought so many battles makes it infinitely harder which is why it is important to honor the time we all got with her. So many moments came to me of her smiles, making me grateful that due to her heart and nature, I got to meet her family and got a dear friend out of it. Even though years have passed since we hung out, we began where we left off, and I felt his pain tear through me, but also his courage in how he was dealing with the loss. They showered each other with love and respect, the things his mom was best at, and again it reminded me that as our elders times get shorter, what we can give them more than anything else is our time and attention. They get to reap the benefit of their legacy while they are alive not just at a funeral,

So we sat, and we honored and we remembered, ,and it made me quite glad that she got far more time than expected due to her illnesses, but her smile and lack of complaint radiated through, and even though it felt strange, I could not help a bit of joy that she got a life well lived. And at the end, that’s all that matters.

Brownness

This is 51

Yesterday seems a blur as the year before I felt I hit a milestone, never imagining that being a father is the REAL milestone. Having a wife who went above and beyond to make it a special day definitely contributed, but also the family, the friends, the calls, the texts, the social media messages all blanketed me with a feeling of being loved and seen. But his eyes stole my soul. They looked deep into mine just as he threw up all over me. The present I will remember for sure. But strange thing was that instead of disgust, my instinct was to ensure he was calm, and not scared. I began soothing but he began smiling widely as he knew what he had done.

Zyan restarted my life by his beautiful eyes, and now I look forward and cherish my mornings with him when it’s just Papa and Zyan. I am sure I am already annoying my family with my daily videos, but I just cannot help containing my joy at each of his smiles and coos that makes me want to share it with the world.

So much can change in a year. That sure is an understatement, but in such a wonderful way I never could have imagined. Theory is way different from practice that’s for damn sure. Each morning now brings its own sweet time for me, albeit I don’t know why I assumed that it would be for 5 days and I’d get the weekend off. We are blessed that Zyan has been cooperative and our schedule for him at night holding firm so far (well the wife does give me extra hours of sleep on weekends), and now I don’t dread the 51.

I lean into it. I look forward to the numbers going forward as it also means that as he grows so do I. I get to learn all the things that I didn’t experience, from preschool here to sports in general which currently drives me to make sure I stay active now. Zyan is not going to allow me to slack, and as his father thats something I will not allow myself either. Whatever he wants to do, he gets to do. The only No he may hear is when he doubts himself because I spent far too long in tha arena even with plenty of encouragement. So he gets to be surrounded by Yes.

51 started off with a bang, and I simply cannot wait to see what the rest of 2023 unfolds.

Zyan

2 Months and a Special Time

Yesterday marked two months since Zyan came into our lives, and already our life before him is a bit of a blur but also clarifying. The questions of do we get enough sleep continue, but what is wonderful to witness is how many are falling in love with him, Already I struggle not to share all of his moments on social media, but I cannot resist sending a daily video to our loved ones of my special time with him when he coos, smiles, and all around just plays for about 30 minutes. The time goes fast, but I also keep promising him that we will always have time like that. Papa will love you. Papa will keep you safe, and Papa will be your friend. Papa will also stretch and do the things he does not know how to do so you don’t have to struggle needlessly. Papa will learn so he can teach, get you curious, expose you new ideas, and the love of reading.

Some things will come easy, others not so much. My current priority besides Zyan is to be in better health, to get back into fitness but not with the goal of looking better, but being around. To keep up my old legs with endless energetic ones that Zyan is sure to have. To have his back, to hold his hand, to hug him, to let him know that he will never be alone. Not just Papa, but ever loving Mama, and the doting Dadi and Nani, and the bhuas, the mamas, mamis, the list goes on and one, We can’t for all of the to be with him to let him know that he can learn from so many and perhaps even teach them. He will know his cousins as brothers and sisters as we did, and that is a moment I cannot wait for.

In just two months, Zyan amassed an army of loved ones, and this is just beginning as our friends come into the fold, and it still feels like a dream after two months, but one that is solidifying our family. This is just the beginning, Zyan. Papa Loves You.

Brownness

The Roller Coaster of Life

One of the hardest things about growing older is knowing that the loved ones in your life especially our friends, their parents and our relatives are likely to leave us at some point. Knowing that fact does not make it any easier. Just in the past two weeks, I got the unfortunate news of three people losing their fathers. Each time, I felt a flash of pain for my own loss, which caused me some guilt as it was so not about me. But I also know because of my experience some of their feelings, and instead of just doing platitudes, I take more action, more time to be around them, more effort to support them in their process.

Words are easy. Actions not so much. We can all say all the right things with just the tone needed, but it is in these times when doing means more. It can be picking up the phone, listening to them or just being present in their company. Sometimes a body in the vicinity can do more than to have the person repeat their story of loss. It can provide the comfort that hey you are not alone in this. Times like this, not much needs to be done except to ensure the person feels heard or comforted. Again not with words because let’s be real, too often, things are said because they are proper, but if we fail to empathize than they are meaningless letters.

I wish people didn’t lose loved ones. I so wish I had more time with my father. The two feelings can exist. I pray often that my aunt no longer coughs anymore and that my uncles gets to lay in bed and relax as he loved to, and that my friends father is at peace and loving her from above. Part fantasy, part wishful thinking but mostly a desperation that this roller coaster of life just would prepare us better, given us more warnings, more reminders to spend time with the ones we care for.

This part of growing up sucks. I look at Zyan, and I know he will see maybe a larger share of this because we stated later. Already he has not had chance to meet one of his grandfathers, and grand uncles and aunts, and it hits me that we get to ensure he experiences love the way we did from so many. That he spends time with the ones that matter to us, and knows the value of friendship, family and fraternity, that it’s not just about material things but the people who matter most. If he ends up feeling as rich as I do in relationships then I know I have done my job.

Happy Monday!

Brownness

A Lifetime of Thanks

Dearest M,

Zyan is now a bit over 6 weeks old.. Each day has become a miracle, and I can’t help being grateful for your generosity and heart in being our surrogate. A few years ago, if you had told me I would be a father someday, I would have politely smiled and just said we will see, one of those things you mumble to well meaning people. There were plenty who asked oh when are you going to have kids or how come you don’t have children? It was one of those questions that I never knew quite how to answer politely or quickly without delving into my wife’s cancer history which seemed like an airing of her past and condition to which they had no right.

And for a while, we’d expected just being relatives and babysitters for others, but now we have one of ours to call son, and it is all due to a decision you made. I don’t know how but the universe connected us, and things moved quickly once they did. It wasn’t easy to keep it quiet from our loved ones, and there always was anxiety for me on whether it will come to fruition. And now it has, and all I can do is pray you get all that you ask because for your selfless act, you deserve the world.

I know I am the quiet kind but after our first holiday with Zyan, I can’t take that route anymore. It is important to let others know that there are other options to having a baby and while surrogacy may not be a fit for everyone, for us, it gave us a new life. We now live in a life of gratitude for the gift that you gave us, and I just needed to take this moment to thank you once again. Your strength was not just in your words, but the 9 months of action, and then giving us strangers something so valuable. For that, we will never forget your heart for doing this for us.

When the time comes, Zyan will also know because not only we are grateful to you, but proud of our decision to be public about our process. And so if anyone reading this has questions, don’t hesitate to send me a message, and I would be more than happy to share our journey. For now, we get to celebrate each day with our new life. And for that we have YOU to thank.

Happy 2023!