Thursday, November 9, 2017

Dream and Vision - Life is all about that..

We always talk about family and its strength and what it can do to any person, let alone our kids. Believe me its all about our dream and vision.
While chatting with a friend last week he mentioned how a small company was falling behind in its production, packaging and shipping. One weekend families decided they all will help and over the weekend everyone got together and things were done. I couldn’t stop marveling the idea. Imagining the scenario only helped me cheer up and write this post. If one spouse and one kid could come together, it’s 3 times more productivity. At the same time, it became family time, one could meet the other people who work with their husbands, wives, fathers or mothers and get an idea of their long day. It must have brought the sense of belonging and owning. The same day I was in a Transition conference hosted by ARC of Massachusetts. The key note speaker mentioned the role of the family and what it does to any kids not only our Special kids. Every time I go to any of these conferences I come back more with clarity of the thought that vision and dream of the family can do wonder. When I wrote the post “knowledge is the power” I knew it was my mission to educate moms whatever I knew. Because knowing What we need to do is winning the half battle. That conference taught me few things. Self-determination is our children’s right, they have a right to dream and fulfil that dream. No one can say to them not to dream. No testing, no doctors no one else not school districts for sure.
As a parent we have to be not only supportive but show them the path to that dream.
To the moms and dads out there, keep driving your kids crazy if that is needed, keep fighting for them, keep dreaming with them and yes keep that in mind that you are the best advocate for your child and no one can take that away from you. Keep learning and keep fighting for what is your and your child’s dream..Because.. It starts with a dream and then only becomes the reality.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Mom's Night out - it was all about our kids not Moms.

AANE Mom’s night out..
When I walked into that room I was just a mom whose name tag said – “Jaya, Franklin, 17 yrs old son” and other than organizer I knew no one. After two and half hour when I walked out I was related to everyone in that room emotionally and knew everyone and everyone’s story and everyone’s fear and their hope. By the end of that evening we were just one. We were just Moms.
I was introduced to AANE years ago, It was far from home and somehow, I just couldn’t make it to Watertown. I didn’t explore much but met two of the directors during one of the event year before. When I was between Job I volunteered with them and got to know more about AANE.
This picture is at AANE gala. That night I was in awe of human goodness all over again. People just not opened their heart but their pocket too for a cause.
When I got the email about Mom’s night out I so wanted to go. Friday evening drive to Boston is not fun but one of the organizer kept me in the loop and I was excited to be part of that mom’s gang. I was on the road that day with many things going on and finally I made it to the venue, half an hour late. I am so glad I did. That evening I got to meet some incredible moms. With so much going on with A and his IEP and School I so needed that support. I think “you are not alone” thing just keeps us going, makes us a better and fighter mother. I felt very supported that night. It was a different Mom’s night out in a way. and all of us was different but exactly the same. All the AANE team members talked about their services and future plan and I was amazed how determined they are to make things happen for many of us. Having a special need child can break a family but all of them rose above the challenges and made sure they help everyone so other don’t have to go through what they did.
Please visit their website, be a part of the community and donate, volunteer.
This saree is a reminder of a bigger vision, hope and promise to help many.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

“Gentrification.” are you a victim of it? Ajey's case study.

This year Ajey decided to take a break from usual summer internship and I wasn’t a very happy mom. But he had his reasons, he has been interning since 8th grade and must do the same next year as he will be looking for a job year after so this was his only chance to take a break. a summer to do what he wanted. He wanted to write, a full time writing project and see what he can do for society. He has been working on this idea of Gentrification and I didn’t find it attractive enough for full time writing. I warmed up to the idea mostly because I knew I cannot changed his mind. He was Ashish and Jaya’s product; how can he do what everyone else does
Last weekend during a dinner a friend casually pointed out something. That’s what happens when a friend from your past (like high school) meets a friend from your forties. They talk about you. what you were thirty years ago and what you are now. The old friend mentioned that you were kind of different person then and the “now” friend agrees that you are somewhat not so usual person even now. That conversation couldn’t have happened at a better time. To remind me that my son is somewhat.. what I was thirty years ago. He is a man with passion, empathy and desire to do something better for the society.
Proud to present Ajey’s independent study project. He is working on the topic of “Gentrification.” I am amazed the way he comes up with idea and look at things differently. I couldn’t be any prouder. I am not even sure if I could analyze things this way even at my age but he sure does.
Here it is - his two episodes. The first episode is about general idea what his friends had to say but the second episode is about Franklin. Please take time to listen and comment your views and ideas. I cannot thank my friends enough to give their time and support my son. Well, that’s how you define the saying.. It takes a village
Let me know if you have anything to say and would like to talk to him about this or any other topic.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Mental Health is real .. May is Mental health awareness Month

You walk into a place not knowing anything and have no idea how will it change you. You meet people and sometimes their vibes can rub you in various directions. You could walk out feeling happy, sad, angry, emotional, drained, jealous and sometimes you just feel powerful, inspired and motivated.
Months ago, I applied for  MFOFC Mass family organizing for change. (My post on MFOFC) my area center was full, but another center had one opening and I was in. So to begin with THIS wasn’t even my place but I was welcomed with warmth and open heart.

It was a 3-weekend journey and over the first weekend we got to know each other but by the second weekend we became a family. That’s what the late night talking sessions do to you.
We all were in awe to each other’s strength, we inspired each other and we realized that we all have our fair share of things to deal with BUT we all have one things in common. We want this world to understand our children better and we all are working towards that in our own capacity.

Each and every participant was my hero, each of them had something to teach me, inspire me. I could write a post about everyone and not even scratch the surface.  They are my village and they made one for themselves during those 6 days.
Meri was a featured mother’s voice. She was one of the coordinator too and when I heard her story my jaw dropped. Physical disabilities are obvious, intellectual disabilities are not, it takes time to understand and figure out intellectual and learning disabilities BUT the mental health crisis can go undiagnosed and can create a major havoc in someone’s life. She is THAT mother who didn’t take NO for an answer and fought for mental health awareness. She is the mom who said that mental health crisis is real and we need a better system to address this. She sat in the hospital holding her son’s hand for 3 days and nights to get him proper help and later went all the way through the political process to change the process. She is a regular in State house so the policy makers know the real lives of real people. She not only works in mental health field she inspires and teaches us moms to get involved in the process. On top of that she went to school to study “Non Profit management to increase family voice in a grassroots organizations” this year. She was laughing while explaining her school assignments and projects finishing process. I was thinking where does she get this strength. But thats what Meri is - contagious, fearless and spreading the sparkle in our lives.
With her I learnt the various folds in Mental Health and its impact. Not only her children are very lucky but people around her too. Her struggles became the stepping stone for many, Meri has changed many lives with her work but she sure had colored mine with her dedication and awesomeness.
May is mental health awareness month and green is the color.
This morning Anand was there to cheer on his mom, who took part in her FIRST ever 5K,walked in Franklin in green saree to dedicate this walk to one supermom she came to love and admire. 
Meri Viano.. you are my hero!!

When I decided to walk in green saree a dear friend suggested it was one of the craziest idea one can think of. 5K in Saree but thats what #100SareePact did to us. So we both agreed to disagree respectfully.
Milind Soman, I want to thank you for inspiring women all over the world to take care of their health and walking/running with Saree clad women. Your mother is an inspiration. You are a brave man who walked with 100s of women in Saree and I cannot thank you enough for inspiring me.