National Bridges at Santa Cruz in California

Did you know that our beloved Earth appears like a blue (because of the water, which covers most parts of the Earth) marble with white swirls (clouds) from space?

Did you know there are more than 20 state beaches only at Santa Cruz in California

Every summer, I make it a point to take (at least once) the boys to the beach. I want them to experience and share my love for the ocean (and the mountains, peaks, plateaus…everything). During this lifetime, I won’t be able to visit all the gorgeous beaches on our planet. But, that is OK. I will try my best to dip my feet in every ocean, every river and every lake that I can take the family to.

The taste of the salt water.
The sound of the rushing waves.
The sight of the endless horizon.
The feel of the warm sand.
The smell of being at the beach!

Today, I was very fortunate to stand beside the beautiful Pacific Ocean. I had a blast at National Bridges (there’s only one natural bridge at Natural Bridges, a naturally formed sea arch) in Santa Cruz with family and friends.

We laughed. We chatted. We gossiped. We ate. We drank chai. All small moments. The small moments that are our beautiful life is composed of. Trust me. Life is about the small moments.

Please take some time out this summer. Go dip your feet in the ocean.

Put your hand in mine. No, I am not kidding. Seriously. Put your hand in mine. Now. Make a pact with me.

Say this with me : “Ambal, I live near the <fill in this blank> beach. I promise. I will take a weekend off this summer. I will gather my family and friends. I will go visit the beach. I will.I promise. Because, our life is about the small moments. Is it not?!”

Del Valle Camping Trip

There is something to be said about being outdoors on a camping trip.

It makes you realize how little you actually need to live and thrive. A tent, a sleeping bag and some basic food.

I just got back from a terrific camping trip to Del Valle with family and friends.

I clicked hundreds of pictures. This one is my favorite. Because, it marks the beautiful (and fleeting) nature of a child’s childhood moment.

Del Valle Camping Trip - 1 - Ambal Balakrishnan

What is your behind the Wheel Story?

I am Adi’s personalized chauffeur.

What is your behind the Wheel Story - Ambal Balakrishnan

Dropping.
Waiting.
Pickup.
Conversing in the car.
Playing his favorite songs on the car stereo.
Taking him to the park.
Taking him to play dates.
Taking him to parties.
Taking him to classes.
Briefing him.
Debriefing with him.
All in the car.

If my Toyota Sienna had to tell its story, I am sure it will be an interesting and fun one….and a very long story.

What is your behind the wheel story?

Adi’s Birth Story

4 days had passed since he was born.

Kumar, Grandpa and I rushed to the hospital for the first week doctor check up.
We were running late….with a wailing baby in the car seat. Kumar pulled through to the clinic’s driveway to drop me off. I jumped off the car and rushed to the front desk.

The receptionist asked me “Who is the appointment for?”.

I responded “I have an 8.30am appointment for my son. His last name is spelt – K – U – M – A – R”.

As I said it, I realized it was the very first time I had said “MY SON”. Suddenly there was a new relationship with a new person. That new person…that was my son. MY SON. As, I said it, my heart became stronger and weaker all at once.

The last few years have been a wild ride with the boy who holds my heart strings in his hands.

Today, he is 11.

10 years ago he was 1. And, we were “one”.

He has a mind of his “own” now.
He and I don’t see eye-2-eye anymore.
He and I blow smoke off our shotguns every day.

Despite the “differences” his adolescence brings, we are still tied together at the hip. And, I hope that togetherness will last a lifetime.

Whether you are near or far, thank you for being in Adi’s life. Thank you for coaching him, sharing a laugh with him and wishing him well. Thank you for guiding me with your parenting tips.

Thank you for saying “Ambal, it is such a short time. Come on, hold it together, will you?”

He is always ahead of me. ALWAYS.

Adi is always ahead of me. ALWAYS.

Here are the questions that I had to field in today’s Ambal-Adi summer 2013 bootcamp.

What is the truth?
Does life exist after death?
Are we alone on this solar system?
Are we just energy sources?
Is this all a dream?
What is the meaning of life?
What is the Karma Yoga you are always telling me about?
I see…there are other Yogas – Bhakti yoga, Jnana yoga
Does God exist?
History of religions?
Are we in a dream?
It is all your perception, mom, really?
It is all in the mind, is it?
Does free-will exist?
Is everything predestined?
Why do you perceive purple during meditation?
Really, You and I might have energy and light transfer..and perhaps nothing else, really?

How do I feed his curiosity?
Seriously, how do I?
I don’t have answers…just more questions for him.

I told him what I always tell myself “Be open to all ideas. Be open to every thought. But, also be skeptical. Don’t accept anything as true. Look for what is not obvious. Keep seeking.”

I felt the urge to discuss Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle with him.
But, that has to wait until later.