Freedom Comes Not From Unlimited Choices, But From Knowing What You Want

I’ve lived most of my life with my options open, sampling from the tasting menu instead of picking a venue, sitting down, and completing a meal. I tried the whole carpe diem thing, richoceted between reckless impulses on the supposed road to happiness. Live for yourself, consequences be damned. 

All of that experience left me with this unshakable testimony: living for yourself is way overrated. 

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Letting My Husband Be Man of the House

Everything is better when Daddy is home. Screams of delight fill the apartment as Zoe runs from room to room, trying to escape Daddy’s clutches before he turns her into soup. Only Daddy can wake her up in the morning, snuggle into her bed and read her favorite books on command. With Daddy even taking out the trash becomes a game so irresistible that Zoe cries when she misses out. 
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Line Upon Line

1_times_square_night_2013I have always written in the same way I have always lived; much of the writing and living were done in the slack-jawed, wild-eyed, wandering manner of a kid lost in Times Square.

My life has been blessed with a bit more clarity now, and I am no longer satisfied with regurgitating the first purposeless thoughts and words that bubble to the forefront of my mind. I want to become a better woman, wife and mother. That is my purpose and I’d like to bring that purpose to this blog.

So I’m changing the title.

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The Best Compliment I’ve Ever Received 

A woman I know from church once told me that when she is reading the Book of Mormon every time she comes across a person who played a peripheral role yet influenced others with his/her actions, she thinks of me and says to herself: Veena would notice this person.

I cried when she told me that. I’m crying now thinking about it.

Almost without exception it is the only compliment that has ever meant anything to me. And it wasn’t even a compliment. It was a friend expressing gratitude for some probably outspoken and overbearing opinions I shared at church. I hold it in mind now when my ability to do or think anything good has deteriorated.

I’ve been sick for a while. I get it. I should take it easy. Not expect so much of myself. But you know how I can tell when I’ve cut myself too much slack? When I’m unhappy. I’ve been taking it easy and not expecting myself to be a perfectly loving human being, but honestly my daughter would have been better off with a piece of drywall for a mother than me for the past three months. People tell me I’m exaggerating. Those people overestimate my need for blind comfort and underestimate my capacity for truth. I took Zoe on a mother-daughter vacation for the express purpose of some loving time for her that she sorely needs. And how did we spend the first morning of that vacation? Zoe pinned to floor, arms locked behind, screaming, “MOMMY, THAT HURTS ME!” while I raked through her hair with a comb for twenty minutes.

The anger that I unleashed on her unsuspecting bed head was my low point as a mother. I know that if that is the worst it’s gotten and it’s the only moment that comes to mind, overall, I’m doing pretty well.

I’ve just never been satisfied with “pretty well”– especially when the emotional health of a child depends on it.

And so I remind myself of that statement: “Veena would notice this person.” I let myself be in awe of my capacity for genuine, gentle concern in the eyes of someone else. That’s who I am. That who I want to be and will continue to be. Morning sickness can go screw itself. Or more eloquently: fuck that shit.

No one else can know what I’m capable of. Only I can know that it’s this: more. I can’t become a perfect mother but I can excuse myself before transforming into Snow White’s evil step-mother. No pressure. No fear. Just assurance and a desire for more good, more love, more tenderness. I’m a woman, damnit. That’s what these trials have molded me into, and I can handle this and I can do it a bit more gracefully.

Because I’m the person who notices. I’m the person who cares.