People are like cameras – both can portray an object in a hundred different ways. We might look in the same direction but where one sees a landscape, another sees a drop of dew. A group of children playing together or an old cracked bench. Endless shelves of dusty books at the library or an old man having an ‘aha’ moment at the computer desk at the very same library behind those endless shelves. Change the lens, zoom in, adjust aperture or just go Instagram the hell out of it – and there you have a different image. Different perspective on life might not solve problems but the background could be softened and something else is brought into focus.

I’ve always had very little respect for my own belongings. Like it would be uncool to actually care about that gadget or a toy (the only exception was books and my notepads) because hello, it’s replaceable! Being a true Russian I am prone to exaggerating my social status. They say only rich people can say ‘it’s too expensive for me’ while people who barely make ends meet are ashamed to admit they are on a budget. Same mentality here: If I’m worried not to break stuff it means I cannot afford replacing it and who would want to hang out with such a poor chap.

Interesting I treat my intangible assets the same value. Somebody wants to abuse my ears? Oh sure, here’s all my time, eat it up. I put interests of outsiders before my own or my family. I can ask my husband to run some errand for a friend but never for myself. What’s that again? Seeking approval?

I still think of my child as a part of me so I’m afraid I might deprive her of her small pleasures in favor of others’.  Sure, we don’t need a swing, sure, ignore her attempts to play together etc. I push the line from sharing to giving in but need to balance my child’s needs and the social spectrum.

For the past year and a half my breakfast is oatmeal because it allegedly helps to produce breastmilk. So i have it everyday. Rain or shine. Whether I’m home, vacationing  or staying at my relatives’ place. I actually like this warm hearty meal but you’d think I wanted to eat something else occasionally. I humbly chew my kasha (or swallow – that’s why it’s kasha) because it’s a right thing to do.

For the same amount of time I’ve been nursing my baby to sleep. I lie down, wait till she’s out and then scoot over. Then I do whatever but I don’t step outside because she still wakes up often.

So these are the two habits I’ve inadvertently formed. It’s been always easy for me to find an excuse for not doing something: lack of time, numerous distractions,  being busy etc. In fact there’s usually one answer: laziness. I can only imagine how many skills I could acquire by doing something every day. Foreign language, writing, learning – it might increase the gray matter after all. Well, “Procrastinators of the World Unite! … Tomorrow”

Sometimes a guy who works for us brings his teenage daughter over to hang out for an hour or two. Because obviously with all the people living under the same roof there is an abundance of square footage. Plus we have the coolest perk in town – the A/C! OK, it’s not perky but still cool.

So this girl always starts speaking to me in soft, ingratiating voice: Oh, you’re soooo nice, soooo kind, soooo beautiful. Her Tajik accent makes it sound even more saccharine, like she’s singing in a harem. It’s so over-the-top it’s obvious she’s about to ask something. Of course then she asks. I’m fully aware of her greasing the wheels just moments ago but I’m already sold. The flattery is slowly seeping into my mind and a part of me thinks “oh sure let her have it, she’s such a sweetheart”. Manipulation 101, where do I sign up?

All these “I love you”, “I miss you”, “You’re special” paired with puppy eyes always make me stop short. Even when it’s a blatant move I feel it would be impolite to tell them to get lost. And there they have it.

Lerochka, today I witnessed your making very first steps. So far there were two steps at first and five a bit later (counted by your grandma). Out of all the milestones (and you’ve reached many!) this has been the most emotional. My little baby is starting to walk. Not even towards me. Not needing my hand. Reaching for independence.

You’ve been walking and holding my finger for quite a while but these past two days you splashed in the ocean for the first time, maybe it filled you up with energy and confidence. I hope you’ll always have a place to dip to replenish your cup of confidence. Maybe hugging each other could be that ocean for you. It certainly is for me.

P.S. Now let me get all dorky and remember the date: 7/8/12 around 9 pm EST.

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