To Raise a Zen Ninja Baby

Hello my little BOY artichoke,

That’s right! We know what you are now! There was no doubt in our mind, but it was so wonderful to find out finally. Here’s a picture of your dog sister Myla we took to announce the news to our whole family.

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What a week we’ve had, your dad and I. As I crossed the 20-week mark of my pregnancy, in came a cocktail of infections and pain for your maman. It’s easy to start worrying when I don’t know what’s happening in my body and especially what’s happening to you. The Internet can sometimes be a source of comfort – what’s more comforting than knowing thousands of women have been through the same pains – but it can also make me doubt whether my pain is exactly the same pain as described by others or worse.

I’ll skip the hospital, the pain, and all the pills. But there was one true lesson in all of this: how important it is not to over-worry and not to dwell on the negative. I hope you’ll get a chance to meet your great-grandmother Chau. She’s the most zen and spiritual person I know. She’s a zen ninja, a zen MASTER. Nothing bothers her and nothing angers her. She has dodged many obstacles in her life and has suffered tremendously in her life: war in Vietnam, losing two of her children, and uprooting her family to Canada. I asked her once if the thought of it all made her sad or made her angry; she simply shrugged and said: “Yeah, sure, I was angry and sad at first. But life goes on and it brought you kids here.”

When I was younger, even into my teenage and young adult years, my mom used to use her to guilt-trip me: “You can’t go there. What is your grandmother going to think!”, “You can’t dress like that, you’re going to embarrass your grandmother.” It always angered me when my mom used those cheap ploys to control me because I loved my grandmother very much. And I knew none of those things mattered to her because none of those small details about life really matter. She never showed she was disappointed in me or embarrassed by anything I did; my mom always looked disappointed in me. She probably wasn’t, but that’s all she ever showed to me. I always felt like I was faulty and useless, and that’s a terrible feeling to have as a kid. My grandmother embraced who I was and the freedom I had to be whoever I wanted to be.

The only thing that matters is that you keep a positive life and treat others with kindness. Sure, life is not always positive and kind to you, but be a beacon of positive energy nonethless! There’s enough negativity to go around already! The positive energy you put out will come back to you! I want to teach you, my little boy, how to be zen ninja like your great-grandmother. I’ll teach you how to survive in an imperfect world. I want you to have a life full of love, experiences, and perspective. I want you to have the ability to look 5-10 years into the future and to know that the world is more beautiful after the storm, whatever storm that may come your way.

Je t’aime mon p’tit dude,
Maman.

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