260/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. So today is siblings day. Sad because as I have aged, my siblings and I have grown apart over the years rather than closer. So apart that I don’t speak to either of my sisters over issues that really are petty but because emotions and pride are involved, no one wants to admit they were wrong and I’ll be the first to admit it. I can now reflect on it and see that both sides are at fault when it comes to a disagreement and that acknowledging perspectives does not lower one to agree with said perspectives. I did make the first move to mend fences with one of my sisters through a gratitude post on New Years’ Day but here we are in April and I have yet to hear anything from her although the post made it to her. Regardless of where we are in our relationship today, I am glad that I had them in my life growing up. I can say that I wasn’t a perfect brother especially to my younger sister (we are 14 years apart) as I had my own issues to deal with being bullied, not having my dad around, trying to get good grades so I could be something and move out; however, I tried to spend a lot of time with her in her younger, formative years which she probably wouldn’t remember. Yes, as she got older, I’m sure she would have wanted what she saw in tv and movies as an older brother but as we grew up, the age difference didn’t help as at 19 when I wanted to go out or hang at university, she was a mere 5 years of age. I did learn how to change diapers and feed a baby and all sorts of other things that come with parenting as my other sister and I became surrogate parents while my mom worked. I have great memories of the good times with both my sisters and perhaps that is what I can focus on this Siblings Day and take pride in the fact that my own two kids get along well given their 7 years in age difference. Here’s hoping that one day me and my sisters can let bygones be bygones and mend our bonds.
257/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. What’s the toughest job out there? You probably thought I was going to say my own – teaching. Nope, that’s not it. Air traffic controller? Yes, it’s the #1 most stressful job but there’s something even more stressful. ER nurse/doctor? Once again, it’s not that either even though they are dealing with so many different personalities and unexpected circumstances. The most stressful job which combines elements of every job out there is that of a parent. Believe me, I speak from experience! The terrible twos have nothing on the teenage years. Got one through who is now 22 and on the other side of the fence but I’ve got one now who is testing my limits and asserting his independence as he is supposed to. In the job of parent, you don’t know what you sign up for and who you are going to get but I appreciate the advice of other parents who’ve been through it or are going through it. I didn’t realize that until having kids of my own. In the beginning, yes, there are those who are giving you unsolicited advice on how to hold the baby, what to feed it and when and how not to coddle etc etc. Then comes the advice in the toddler years to the early primary years and which teacher to get and which one to stay away from if you get into the right school in the first place. That’s about the time I started wanting and appreciating parenting advice from other parents. Now here I am with my second teenager and welcome as much relevant advice as there are days where I’m on the verge of pulling my hair out – thank God I have a lot of it 😉 However, I have a huge caveat as to when it comes to parenting advice – harder to accept/listen to your suggestions (usually criticisms) if you are not a parent and don’t acknowledge that point. I don’t care how many books you’ve read, how many nieces and nephews you have, how educated you are, how many students you have taught or whatever the case may be – you don’t know parenting unless you are a parent especially if you start off with “I would…”. Yes, I might have ruffled quite a few feathers with that comment but let me liken it to the following: me giving hockey advice to my son just because I’ve watched games and know stats and team histories and all the rules – okay, maybe a bad example as I know none of that but you get my point 😉 If I haven’t put on a pair of skates and been on the ice against another team and hockey isn’t my life, I have no place in giving unsolicited advice to my son on how to improve his game unless he asks for it. So to all the parents who have given, continue to give and will give me parenting advice, I so much appreciate it as you know what you are talking about. To the others, the thought is appreciated and your suggestions are too but just keep in mind that you are on the outside looking in and I’m living it so I may not really understand your intent but if it’s coming from a good place, much respect. To both groups of people, thank you for thinking of me and my situationship and I am gonna survive this second teenager too as it is what I signed up for 🙂
254/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. I’ll just say it – I hate being the oldest. All my life I have had to set the bar and through both conscious and subconscious pressure, I have set it very high so that my siblings and cousins had something to aspire for (or so I thought). So many times I wished that I had an older sibling or cousin who I could look to for guidance but unfortunately for me, I was the oldest. I have a sister two years younger than me. I have another sister 15 years my junior – yes, 15!! The cousins who were born in Canada and that I grew up with are 7 to 16 years younger than me. In my 30s, my mom’s sister’s family emigrated to Canada and along came a few more cousins. These ones were older but I was still oldest. It was contested that my cousin Gurmit who was born in the season of harvest was older according to my grandmother as she had heard about his birth in India and then recalls my birth in Canada but harvest season is probably after this Leo baby. However, I recall going to the motherland when I was 18 for four months – yes, when your parents take you out of school for a trip to India (and for me, it was out of university), it was for an entire semester! My mom took me to probably marry me off – LOL, I kid (although I was hot property back then and had a lot of offers – I didn’t want an ESL tag-along!!). So I was dragged along to countless homes and met cousins that I had heard about and finally, finally I was younger than two!! My dad’s niece Baljit – stunning beauty – was about 3 years my senior. She literally and figuratively took me under her shoulder and I let her. First time I let go and was able to be someone who had an older sibling (re-read my earlier post about cousins being sibling in Indo-Canadian culture). Although I was 19, she took care of me like her younger baby brother doting on me. I let it happen because I so wanted to look up to someone and let go of having to be the oldest and role model and whatever else came with it. A similar thing happened when I met my mom’s nephew Amarjit. Handsome and having the same stutter as me. Also 3 years my senior. He took me on his motorcycle to various sites and kept me within arm’s reach and looked out for his Canadian cousin whenever we were out in public as I didn’t really know what I was getting into. Although I only met them briefly that first time in India, they made an indelible impression on me that has been everlasting and they allowed me breathing time away from being role-model and just revel in the fact that I could be the younger one looking to my older siblings/cousins for guidance. I have never forgotten that trip and they will never know how comforting it was to have them for those 4 months and have an experience I longed for all my life for however brief it was. Thank you Baljit and Amarjit for being my older cousins and just making me feel that much more at ease and allowing me to be me without having to be an example for others.