Tag Archives: Mom

5 Impressive DIY Mother’s Day Gifts in An Hour or Less!

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Moms make the world go round. Dads, mentors, teachers, and grandparents are pretty important, too, but for this weekend let’s hear it for moms! Mothers come in all shapes and sizes, and they all find their own paths to motherhood. But all you moms out there, you know who you are. We know who you are, too. And thank you.

For the special mom or moms in your life, nothing says Happy Mother’s Day like a homemade gift. Save the store-bought candles and Apple products (or whatever your mama is into) for another occasion. It takes a bit more time and planning to make your own gift, but here are 5 DIY presents you can do in an hour or less! All of the projects include ginger, an ingredient which you may have noticed we are absolutely obsessed with of late.

1. Ginger Body Scrub (Beautiful With Brains)

The special mama in your life will love the all-natural feel, scent, and exfoliating power of this homemade body scrub. So many beauty products these days are packed with parabens and other chemicals, and it can be hard to feel luxurious and toxin-free at the same time. Make your own skin products and voilà! Problem solved! Present the scrub to Mom in an elegant glass jar, and she’ll feel utterly pampered.

2. Rhubarb Ginger Jam (Witchin’ in the Kitchen)

A tangy, zesty, and impeccably classy jar of jam for spreading on toast, mixing in oatmeal, and eating by the spoonful. Try using ginger powder instead of the root for the same spicing effect, minus the labor of peeling and mincing. And you can cut the ingredient measurements way down to make a single jar serving. Feel free to skip the water bath step if you and mama will enjoy within a couple weeks.

3. Ginger Scalp Treatment (Wakaya Perfection)

Ginger is believed to help stimulate circulation, which can lead to hair growth. Mix the ingredients up for this recipe and present it to Mom in a chic jar or bottle. Try making a custom label, too! It’ll look like something you got from the salon, but will be made with all natural ingredients, zero chemicals, and by the loving hands of YOU!

4. Ginger Cashew Granola (Alaska From Scratch)

Yum. And healthy! Ginger, quinoa, cashews, coconut oil… ‘Nuff said. Bake up a big batch of this and gift it to mama in a jar, clear cellophane bag with ribbon, or straight in the bowl with yogurt or milk for a delicious Mother’s Day breakfast. You’re bound to make more than one gift’s worth, so bag up the rest of it for all the moms in the neighborhood! (Or sneak the rest home with you.)

5. Mint-Ginger Lemonade (Wakaya Perfection)

If it’s starting to get warm where you are (or even if it isn’t!) nothing says summer like a big glass of lemonade. Double, triple, or quadruple this recipe, and pour it in a big, elegant carafe so Mom can enjoy its freshness all week. If your mama is adventurous, she can even pour in a touch of vodka for the perfect lemon drop martini!

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Mother’s day is just around the corner. Wakaya Perfection makes a great gift for Mom whether she enjoys a Zingarita, a hot cup of tea or a soothing ginger bath! Check out http://wakayaperfection.com for recipes and homemade gift ideas featuring Wakaya Perfection Organic Ginger. Use the promo code HAPPYMOM and receive 15% off your next purchase!

Wakaya Perfection Ginger Powder has been featured in the LA Times, New York Times Gift GuideOprah’s favorite things and may more!

Give It Up For Beautiful Mother’s Day Cards Representing LGBT and Alternative Families!

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Mother’s Day is coming up this weekend, and you may be scrambling to get cards, gifts, and plan get togethers with those special moms in your life. But for many families in the United States, this holiday is more problematic. After all, does Mother’s Day representation in media and on greeting cards pay equal tribute to single moms, young moms, queer moms, incarcerated moms, or minority moms? And what about families headed up by two dads – should they just wait until Father’s Day and leave it at that?

One organization, Strong Families, is tackling this issue head on. This grassroots organization states that their mission is to help all families thrive regardless of race, class, age, sexual orientation, citizenship status, or any other marker of relative enfranchisement and alienation. Strong Families’ line of custom alternative Mother’s Day cards is as  beautiful as it is groundbreaking. Take a look at these amazing cards, and if you feel inspired, go ahead and create on for a special parent in your life:

Click here to make your own Mother’s Day card using one of these beautiful templates from Strong Families.

How will you be celebrating Mother’s Day this year?

 

Images from http://strongfamiliesmovement.org

I Refuse to Accept That “Boys Will Be Boys”

Fight!By Vanessa Gobes

Men completely baffle me. No offense, guys. As a gender, you’re real go-getters – strong, handsome, and a very necessary component in procreation. But honestly, between the insatiable need for power (be it in the form of money, attention, strength, or remote control handling) and the twisted inclination towards professional wrestling, porn and realistically bloody video games, I can’t decide if I should run away from you screaming in terror or just move into a lesbian commune and wash my hands of you entirely.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time lately thinking about men. Young men. Well, boys really. I’m rearing one currently. He’s four, the caboose on a train of three older girls. Generally, he’s very sensitive and sweet. He cares about people and animals. He articulates his feelings and is well-behaved. At least I think he’s all of those things…  until he finds a stick on our post-winter lawn and immediately begins whacking the dog with it. Then imagines that stick as weapon and fires it dramatically at his sisters who are chalking quietly in the driveway.

There are more boyish antics, of course. The tasmanian-devil-style thrashing he displays for what seems to be no reason at all. The make-pretend enactments of a werewolf mauling a honey badger in the forbidden forest. The wet sponge ambushes on his sisters at bedtime as they brush their teeth.

I never taught him these things. I’m pretty sure my husband didn’t either. We don’t initiate or encourage this type of play. But he’s a boy. And he seems naturally wired for bursts of destruction.

This is no excuse. Absolutely not. I refuse to lie down and say, “Boys will be boys.” I’m fighting this overused saying, not with my sharp claws or stick weapons, but with kindness, discipline and love.

I’ve also enlisted my daughters to teach our wild little wolf cub how to become a respectable human being since girls seem to enter life with more compassionate tendencies. It’s not a hard lesson, really, this lesson in compassion. But it needs to be taught daily. Daily. Daily. Daily.

This past weekend I had 7 kids here for a sleepover. We watched Indiana Jones. During the blood and guts portions, they watched unfazed. But when Indy started making out with his leading lady, the kids all belted out, “Eeeeewwww!!! Disgusting! Hide your eyes!”

I was appalled, “You little turkeys mean to say you’ll watch happily as bloody monkey brains are served for dinner but Doctor Jones planting a kiss on his girlfriend makes you want to throw up? Come on! Love is beautiful and natural. Hurting people is ‘eeeeewwwww.’ Get your priorities straight, small people!”

Whether or not my words hit home, I’m unsure. My intent, however, is always deeper than a 30 second lecture at a sleepover party, or even a 500 word essay on mothering a typical boy.

Mothers of boys have a precious opportunity to co-create and inspire young boys who become compassionate and mindful men. There are no other more important qualities for a man to possess. When all actions, all intentions, all thoughts are created with mindful compassion, humans will be on our way to world peace. And we mothers are 100% responsible for instilling this quality in our sons.

The end of sex-trafficking? The solution to corporate greed? The dissolution of hate crimes? The pacification of violence? This can all happen through compassion.

We spend so much time trying to fix the problems we have. Counsel the women who have been exploited. Mend the planet that has been ravaged. Heal the people who have been pained. Why not skip the pain and spend that time nurturing boys who value love over destruction?

No four-year-old boy thinks, “When I grow up, I want to pimp out 14 year old girls… Or maybe I’ll be a bigot… Or a banker who invests in companies that rape our planet of resources… Or maybe a dictator who stockpiles nuclear weapons.” I know mine doesn’t anyway. So while they’re young, and while we mommies have control, let’s teach our boys how to love a woman, how to love a planet, how to love their enemies. The world will thank us for it in 30 years or so.

Originally published on Vanessa’s personal blog, Bringing Up Buddhas.

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vanessaheadshot-3Vanessa Gobes is a full time house frau and jane of all trades. She’s currently blogging her way to awakening through a steady diet of kindness, compassion and mindfulness – considering herself not quite Buddhist, but Bu-curious. Her current intent is to work on infusing a daily morning meditation routine into each public school in her town. Vanessa is a community activista, philanthropista and newspaper columnista in Winchester, Massachusetts. Read her stories at www.bringingupbuddhas.com

photo by: Aislinn Ritchie

How to Teach Our Kids About the Perils of Lying

This week’s episode of “Perfectly Imperfect Parents” on The Chopra Well is all about lying and how parents handle it with their kids. Deepak Chopra makes a guest appearance to discuss the grey areas, but one voice remains adamant that lying is never okay: Dr. Cara Natterson is a pediatrician and author of The Care and Keeping of You. We interviewed her on her firm stance against lying and how parents can model the merits of honesty to their kids.

The Chopra Well: What’s your view on kids lying – sometimes okay, never okay?

Dr. Cara Natterson: The best advice I ever got, ever in my whole life I think, was this:

Never tell a lie and then you won’t have to remember what you said.

As a pediatrician and as a mom, my rule is that lying is never okay. This is a boundary – and an important one at that – because it keeps kids safe. I don’t really care what my kids might be lying about. For me, there are no gradations here. A lie is a lie, and teaching the importance of honesty trumps the subject matter. Now that said, all kids lie. At least, at some point they do. It is a developmental right of passage. And so it’s not so much that lying is entirely preventable (because it’s not), but rather that parents shouldn’t tolerate it. Your kids will do it, and they will seek your reaction. In my house, the response is pretty firm.

CW: Isn’t there kind of a fine line between kids embellishing/using their imagination and outright deceiving?

CN: Sure there is. This is part of that developmental phase. Kids must explore the concept of consequences. And they need to learn how to draw a line between reality and fantasy. I think it gets increasingly hard from generation to generation as there are more visual cues (TV, video games, movies, apps) that further blur those lines. But by the time a child is in grade school – certainly by 2nd or 3rd grade – embellishment turns to deceit. And I think many kids are asking to be caught because they want to know the limit. Their job is to push us and test us, and our job is to respond consistently.

CW: Can you tell us an anecdote about catching one of your kids in a lie and how you handled it?

CN: My daughter is a horrible liar. Gotta love that. She has no poker face and she bursts into tears when she thinks she has let someone down. So I would have to dig deep to find a story that involves her lying and not just melting and revealing herself within 30 seconds.

My son is craftier than his older sister. Not in a bad way, mind you, but he just watches and learns. So he does not fear stretching the truth like she does, and precisely because she doesn’t do it that much he doesn’t fear the consequences either (because she doesn’t really have any). His most frequent lie is about thumb sucking. I will be reading with him at night and see him slip his thumb into his mouth – a habit he’s been trying to kick since he was four, but at seven-and-a-half he just loves a drag or two on that thumb. I will see him do it, or a shiny, moist digit will pop into my peripheral vision while we are reading. And at this point, I don’t even say anything. I just grab at his thumb as fast as humanly possible because it’s a race to see if I can feel the moisture before he wipes his thumb dry on his pajama bottoms. When he wins the race, he smirks at me. When I win, I smirk back. And either way, his thumb gets covered with a Band Aid, which is the only deterrent that keeps it out of his mouth. There’s the consequence, and he just keeps checking that I am going to follow through. Every single night.

CW: How have truth and deception played into your work as a pediatrician? Do your patients ever lie to you about their health and habits?

CN: Parents lie much more than the kids do. Parents are invested in making life look perfect, or at least in putting their best face forward, so they will shower me with positives about how their kids are always in car seats or there is no soda in the house or whatever it is they think I want to hear. And most of the time, the kids will out their parents. “We do too have soda, mom!” When people lie about their health choices – like when a father tells me he has given up smoking and I can smell the cigarette fumes wafting from his clothes – they usually do it because they have shame. So it doesn’t help to further shame them. When I know someone is lying, I will ask the questions in a different way or try to explain why I am asking in the first place, and oftentimes I get the truth out.

CW: As parents, what’s the greatest lesson we can teach our kids about honesty, and how can we convince them that telling the truth is always worth it?

CN: It’s simple: honesty keeps you safe. And it really does. It keeps you from getting in trouble, it keeps you from getting hurt, and it keeps the story straight. I try to point to real-life examples of how lying creates bigger problems. We talk about events in the news related to lying or something that happened to a friend who lied at school. Recently my mom was driving one of my kids and she used the cell phone while driving. My daughter knew that I had asked her not to, and so when she did it my daughter said something. She said, “Nana, mom’s rule is no phone in the car. And there’s a reason for that rule – everyone drives better when they aren’t on it.” An amazing thing happened. My mom isn’t always perfect about following my rules, but she became perfect on this one. She hasn’t picked up the phone in the car since. I think it’s because my daughter told her why. She gave a rationale, and it made sense. It reminded me that explaining the reason for the rule is as important as the rule itself.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and don’t miss next week’s episode of “Perfectly Imperfect Parents”!

Past Articles:

Teaching Our Children About Body Image (And don’t forget the boys!)

Should Parents Allow Their Kids on Social Media?

Doctor’s Advice: How to Talk With Your Kids About Sex

Teaching Our Children About Body Image (And don’t forget the boys!)

By Dani Klein Modisett

How timely that “body image,” is the topic for “Perfectly Imperfect Parents” on The Chopra Well this week because a new story of mine, “ The White Food Disorder,” is part of a book launching next week called THE CASSOULET SAVED OUR MARRIAGE: True Tales of Food, Family, and How We Learn to Eat.

In it I reveal how happy I was when I found out I was having a boy during each of my pregnancies. Not because I don’t love little girls, I do, although the Princess thing scares me, but because what frightened me more was passing down my body obsession and eating disordered history to daughters who might have sprung from my loins. Wait, men have the loins; I have a womb – that, in fact, my children lived in for nine plus months during which I spent not an insignificant amount of time wondering A) if I was gaining too much weight, B) if I would ever have arms again that weren’t the circumference of small dogs, and C) if eating two boxes of Pepperidge Farm anything was too much after a half pound hamburger.

I’m no Freud, but I was pretty sure that exposing a fetus to these thoughts did not bode well for the future of a little girl. With boys I thought I’d be safe. Boys eat and run and eat some more. Boys don’t ask if they look fat in their jeans, right? But long before Dr. Cara straightened me out on the misconception that boys don’t have body image issues, I was faced with a different truth in our house. The aforementioned “White Food Disorder.“

Although it has nothing to do with their body image yet, my sons’ fear of eating any food that isn’t white is disturbing and was an initial wake up call that food and body image issues are not gender specific. I won’t go in to further detail here about the White Food Disorder, (but feel free to pre-order the book by clicking on the link) suffice it to say, the only green items the boys ate until last year were holiday M&M’s. But we’ve made headway now with Spanikopita and blueberries. Parenting is nothing if not a series of small victories.

Regarding this episode on body image, I am surprisingly a woman of few words this week. It’s unexpected because with a former model for a mother, I eat body image issues for breakfast. And I have been for almost 25 years. My mother was on a diet my entire life, and she tortured me and my older sister about our bodies. Somewhere around 1976, my mother put my sister on a liquid protein diet until her hair fell out. According to my mother at the time, she looked “terrific.” Fat phobia ruled our household.

It didn’t help that when I left my parents’ home I became an actress. Everything you’ve heard about the lifestyle of actresses is true. During my first few years in LA, when I ate (which was rare), I inhaled steamed vegetables, popcorn or frozen yogurt (the 8 calorie per ounce kind). I weighed myself multiple times a day. No matter how small the number on the scale was, or the pant size, or the belt holes, I knew if I were only more disciplined it could be smaller. A friend couldn’t help but notice I had a problem and suggested I get help. Which I did.

Playing with lightI wish I could tell you I have completely outgrown this preoccupation, but why lie? I still have concerns about my body size some days, but I think they fall more in the range of normal now. Although I still can’t be alone with popcorn. Fortunately, my size no longer determines my employment. As I age, I find I am much more concerned, and grateful for, the strength and health of my body. Because the humble truth about my thicker-than-I’d-like torso is that it housed my children, and despite the fall out from that, my body also brings me a lot of joy. Not the same high as being a size 2 after being told “You have such a pretty face,” for much of my adolescence, but it’s a very cool body nevertheless.

Which must be why my big “tip,” at the end of my reserved contribution to this show is “There is hope!” While my highly educated and thoughtful co-hosts give you very important facts and statistics and suggestions, I think my mind was engaged in it’s own flashback to my early life imprisoned by a terrible, sometimes paralyzing negative body image and how that is not the case today. Today I can work on a set with the very lithe Dr. Cara and still come out of my dressing room. I don’t think I could have done that in my 20’s. I would have expended so much energy comparing my body to hers and “feeling fat,” that I would have been too distracted to work. But, alas, there I am in my chair, talking and nodding my head. It’s not that I don’t notice that Cara has zero percent body fat, it’s just that it doesn’t matter. She’s her and I’m me and it’s all good.

This seems to be the key to raising a child with a healthy body image. To help them eat well, get exercise (an hour EVERY DAY, according to Dr. Cara!) and once that is in the works, teaching them acceptance. Dark, fair, tall, short neck, long arms, small hands, big feet, whatever it is, this is the body you have been given. If you take care of it, it will allow you to dance and laugh and have sex (when you’re older and not in my house, dear).

Some days it will be bigger and some days it will be smaller, but enjoy it because in the truest definition of the word, your body is awesome.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and don’t miss next week’s episode of “Perfectly Imperfect Parents”!

photo by: hugrakka

Mallika Chopra: Where Do We Draw the Line with Bullying?

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By Mallika Chopra

My daughter recently told me about an incident with some of her friends. A group of them were together singing, dancing and having fun. One friend, a free spirited, earnest girl, was enthusiastically participating, feeling secure in the trusted circle.

My daughter heard another friend, who had a cell phone with her, laugh and say, “Let’s record her,” without the other girl’s knowledge. My daughter said no, feeling intuitively that it would be inappropriate.

This incident brought up several issues for me.

  1. All the girls involved in this scenario are really nice, kind, good girls. In fact, I feel very fortunate that my daughter is surrounded by such wonderful friends.
  1. I was in the room, and had felt uncomfortable with the cell phone in this particular situation. But I did not take it away.
  2. Our children are living in a new world where everything they do has the potential to live forever online, whether they upload them or not.
  3. Was this a potential incident of bullying? I’m not sure, but I think so. And I am proud of my daughter for knowing it was inappropriate to record another friend without her knowing.

Bullying has happened throughout the ages. In the last few years though it has gained more media attention – from Lady Gaga to Demi Lovato to tragic incidents where young kids have been humiliated both online and offline, and it has ended in the worst situation imaginable for parents.

Kids can be mean. Perhaps it’s part of their exploration of boundaries and their power in social circles. As parents we can teach our own kids the importance of kindness, respect and treating others as we want them to be treated. And, we can guide them to stand up to bullies.

I tell my daughters that when someone is being mean to them, it’s more a reflection of that person’s insecurity. Of course, when my daughter was teased by a friend and locked out of a room, I was livid with anger — not really accepting my own advice and immediately thinking “What a little b….!” Yes, I will admit my own thoughts waver often from what I aspire to be as a good mom.

In our first episode of Perfectly Imperfect Parents, my co-hosts, Dr. Cara Natterson (author of The Care and Keeping of You books by American Girl) and Dani Modisett (author and creator of the book and play, Afterbirth) discuss bullying. We would love your thoughts on how you have addressed this issue with your kids. We can all learn from each other!

Subscribe to The Chopra Well to get updates on the latest episodes of Perfectly Imperfect Parents!

More on conscious parenting by Mallika Chopra:

Back to School Bliss!
Talking to Children About the Batman Shooting
Mommy Days – Balancing Work & Kids (in a somewhat frenzied way!)

Reach Out: The Communal Side to Parenting

God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers.There’s no class on parenting, no university degree in child-rearing. Yet for those who decide to become parents, it is a lifelong, 24/7 job that no amount of babysitting or book reading can fully prepare you for. So you dive in headfirst; you improvise, make mistakes, learn from your mistakes and adjust as time goes on. It may be some consolation to know that billions of people before you have survived the trials and joys of parenthood and that thousands of your neighbors right now are on the journey alongside you. And if questions arise? All you have to do is ask.

This week, The Chopra Well YouTube channel launches a new show entirely dedicated to conscious parenting. “Perfectly Imperfect Parents” features three Los Angeles mothers (a pediatrician, an entrepreneur and a comic) in a roundtable discussion on their challenges, successes and failures as they strive to raise balanced, happy children. They share stories and compare notes on some of the biggest issues parents face with their kids, including bullying, social media, healthy living, sex and body image.

Mallika Chopra, author and founder of Intent.com, hosts the show, alongside her friends, Dr. Cara Natterson and Dani Klein Modisett. Cara is a pediatrician who has authored several medical and parenting books, including the best-selling American Girl book, The Care and Keeping of You. Dani is a writer, actress, and comedienne who created the live show “Afterbirth,” which has been running in Los Angeles for eight years.

Perfectly Imperfect Parents” reminds us of the resources at our disposal through our friends, colleagues, siblings, and our own parents. There’s no science to being a parent, but anyone who’s been down that road before may have some useful tips to share about the journey. Mallika, Cara and Dani come together every week to discuss a different topic, bringing to the table a certain set of experiences and methods. But each of them walks away with a richer understanding of the issue and even some new tricks to try out, proving, as Dr. Cara says, that it’s never too late to try something new as a parent.

The show kicks off with a discussion on one of the hot button issues of parenting: bullying. This topic has come to the fore of public discourse recently, particularly with Amanda Todd’s tragic suicide in October of 2012 and with media coverage from celebrities like Lady Gaga and Jennifer Garner.

Join us on Thursday, February 7 at The Chopra Well for Episode 1 of “Perfectly Imperfect Parents.” And be sure to subscribe to the channel to stay updated on our latest videos!

photo by: legends2k

Pregnancy, Birth and Babies: 5 Articles We Love

We love babies. And women. And women who have babies. Here are some articles that touch on several aspects of pregnancy and birthing. Some stories, some tips, and a video that will melt your heart. Enjoy!

Imagine if one day all types of female bodies – including the pregnant ones – were respected enough to be featured regularly in the fashion world?

Raffaella Fico Pregnant On The Runway: Empowering Move or Publicity Stunt? (Blisstree)

Here are some pregnancy tips – take from them what you will. We’d add: do what feels right and be compassionate with yourself!

Healthy Mama, Healthy Baby: 6 Ways to Stay Strong & Sane During Pregnancy (MindBodyGreen)

This volleyball player competed in the Olympics while she was five weeks pregnant. She won. And now she’s 11 weeks pregnant. True story.

Gold Medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings was Pregnant During Olympics. Still Beat Everyone (Yahoo! Shine)

Ina May Gaskin, the country’s leading midwife, argues that a woman’s choice goes far beyond the right to choose an abortion or not. Many have to fight for their right to labor, too.

When Delivering an Infant, Women Deserve Choice (Care2)

And for some extra baby love, watch this video. Please. You won’t regret it.

Life: Captured in 5 Minutes (Positively Positive)

All About Moms (Mostly): 5 Articles on Stress, Babies, and Parenting

Deciding whether or not to become a parent is one of life’s big decisions. For some, it’s a no-brainer. For others, it entails months, even years, of agonizing doubt and hesitation. Parenting isn’t for everyone. And for those who do choose that path, it will undoubtedly become the hardest, if potentially most rewarding, experiences of their lives. But first, says the media, lose that pregnancy weight! (Just kidding.)

So many moms are overextended and often exhausted. How much do you really know about stress and how it affects your life?

What’s Your Stress IQ? (Care2)

When celebrities are down to a size 4 just weeks after giving birth, the media applauds their discipline. When they’re still curvy and soft like every other normal post-pregnancy woman, the media attacks them. Go figure.

Celebrities Who Don’t Lose Baby Fat Fast Enough Face Backlash (YahooShine)

After this weekend’s scandal surrounding certain politicians’ takes on rape and abortion, it’s good to reflect on how our country really feels about the issue, and what we can do as parents and citizens.

I’m Doing My Best Not To Raise Rapists (Mommyish)

What do you do if you’re reaching the end of your fertility, don’t have a partner, and haven’t had kids? This woman’s friend tells her to forget about love and have a baby on her own. But maybe love is worth waiting for, after all.

Childless So Far: Why I Choose Love Over Motherhood (HuffPost)

And we know we said this would be all about moms, but here is a dad’s cute reflection on the two years since his daughter’s birth.

The 5 Dumbest Things I Did in My First Two Years as a Father (HuffPost)

photo by: christyscherrer

Before Mother’s Day, a Car Accident Brought My Mom and Me Closer

 You never expect to run into your mother in certain places: a nightclub, a concert, or at one of those juice-detox bars that are springing up everywhere in Los Angeles. But how about in the middle of an intersection on Crescent Drive in Beverly Hills? I mean, I really ran into her….or I better say I crashed into her! Yes, with my car, in the middle of a posh residential area in the flats of Beverly Hills. Luckily she was in her car as well or I could have done serious damage.

It all happened so fast. One minute I was driving home from an appointment. The next minute two boys on their bicycles by the street corner caught my eye, and the next minute I found myself swerving my car to avoid hitting a silver Lexus that had suddenly appeared in my path. Well, you already know that I did not succeed.

The first thing that popped in my head was I hope the lady in the car is okay. "The lady" drove her car to the side of the curb and I followed. I could only see the back of her head, and from the greying hair I could tell she was an elderly woman. Needless to say, I felt even more terrible. I immediately got out of my car to apologize. I knew I had been careless and had not paid attention.

Just imagine the sheer horror in my face, and my mom’s as well, when we finally saw each other. With both hands on the steering wheel, my mom leaned out of the window and squinted, "Angel, is that you?" I didn’t know what to do first: pick my jaw off the floor, drive and run to my room and close the door out of sheer embarrassment, or pretend that I was not me. The afternoon sun was glaring into her face. I could tell that she was clearly shaken up. And did I tell you, I felt horrible?

Nothing had really happened to my car, but her Lexus was badly dented. I made my way towards her, my eyes downcast, "Yes it is me, Mom." The words barely come out of my mouth. As I was reaching for my mother’s hand, a witness came by and asked my mom if she needed her testimony.

I ignored the question and asked, "Mom, are you okay?" My mom straightened herself up right away, patted her hair down, paused and looked down at her hands that lay once again on the steering wheel and quickly looked up at me. The mother that she is, her first instinct was to want to protect me, exonerate me of my guilt. "Yes, yes. I am okay. Are you?"

The witness interrupted us again, "Ma’am, do you need any help?" she asked. I turned to her and explained that I was her daughter.

She shook her head in disbelief, "I’ve never heard of anything like this!"

"I know," I sighed and turned to my mom. I got lucky; my mom wasn’t hurt. We both drove off, and of course, this accident became the butt of our family’s joke for the next week. I managed to get her car fixed within a week. As much as I nervously laughed and joined in on the joke with everyone, I wanted to quickly erase any evidence of what I had done.

A few weeks passed, and I was sitting next to my oldest brother at a restaurant. He was telling my husband and me how he is enjoying taking up the santur (a Persian musical instrument). His wife interjected and said, "He loves to practice, and what is so funny is that when the teacher comes the following week, he can’t believe his remarkable progress."

It was no surprise to any of us. My oldest brother, along with the rest of us in the family, tends to have this laser beam focus when it comes to mastering something. Granted he seems to take first prize in that category (he skipped three grades in school and recently won in a competition in downhill skiing), we all appear to have picked this habit up from both my mom and my late father. "Believe me," I said, "by next week, he will have skipped an entire method booklet." I looked over to my brother, Jamshid, and noticed him leaning back in his chair, chuckling, first looking down at his hands, then quickly looking up.

That was it! I instantly recognized that look. I leaned in and said, "You know, this very look you just gave? Well, it’s exactly the same look that mom sometimes has." "It’s unbelievable," I added. I don’t remember his response, or even what we talked about after that. I sat back, thinking how much I missed my mom. I mean I speak to her almost everyday, and we do see each other at least once a week. But this was a different kind of missing.

That night I went home and thought about how startled she was when I had found her after the accident, the vulnerable, yet strong look on her face. In our family, we all love each other deeply, but we’ve been raised in a very formal and traditional way. Outward displays of affection are reserved for big celebrations or special events. Come to think of it, in our Persian language, the word "love" is not spoken between a parent and a child or visa versa.

Blame it on my more American upbringing, my sensitivity, or even the fact that I felt bad for running into my mom. The very next day, I called my mom and asked her if I could come over her house. "Mom, I love you," I said in English over the phone. She let out a belly laugh and replied, "I love you too," in her strong Persian accent.

I felt stupid, as if I were an 8-year-old child. But I guess it doesn’t matter how old you are; from time to time, you want to feel mothered. I told her I wanted to come over so that she could give me a hug. There was a pause for a few seconds. I imagined she probably thought I had fallen out of the wrong side of the bed. But her voice cracked when she said, "Come over, my little one." Being the youngest of five kids and with a petite build, my father had nicknamed me — koochooloo, meaning little one. Once, when I was in my early 30s, I went to visit my father. Upon seeing me enter the room, he sat up, snapped his fingers, and flashed his blue eyes in delight. "Bah, bah! Koochooloo is here. She looks like she is only 18," he said. Well, I am sure I looked older than a teenager, but this goes to show that parents see their kids with different eyes. No matter how old we are, we remain their children — beautifully preserved in their memory.

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