By Marissa B. Niranjan

A common, sacred thread

Her Batman-caped preschooler smiled at my Spiderman pajama-clad daughter as my cart squeaked and wobbled across the hard floor. Nothing bonds kids like superheroes.  His what-I-assumed-to-be grandmother and I briefly made eye contact in the cereal aisle and then traded the requisite half-smiles as we sped past each other once we felt the imminent tantrums…

RESTroom

Now is my chance.  I slink along the wall and retreat one small tiptoe at a time towards the open bathroom door and close it slowly without so much as a creak. Sigh. Do I have time to reply to a text?  Can I figure out what the heck “Covfefe” means?  My gut says no…

Girls go to Jupiter

“I feel like a planet with a lot of other planets stuck to me.”  Rubina Doreen, Age 3.5 It was one of those off-hand preschool-aged musings said with a sigh in between throwing a tantrum, eating a bowl of macaroni and cheese, and testing out markers in her new Ninja Turtle coloring book. And for…

Pulled Punches

I order my coffee and begin to mine my wallet for the elusive punch card.  As a small line builds behind me, I shuffle through receipts, random bills, and coupons that I still hope to redeem even though they expired last November.  A minute later, it surfaces. Just one more punch to go. I get…

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

The term rainbow baby was coined to describe a child who is born following a loss with the idea that the light of the rainbow inspires hope after experiencing darkness. While I don’t like thinking of the baby we lost as a storm, I do appreciate the sentiment. We were just on the fringe of…

Fired Up on the Turnip Truck

I slammed the sliding glass door of my dad’s apartment and hurled myself onto his hunter-green futon in a cluster of sobs. Concerned, my dad ran out of the kitchen, dish and drying towel still in hand. “What’s wrong?” he asked. “Senior awards are coming out soon and for the first time they are going…

The Feminine Desert

At my daughter’s most recent preschool holiday potluck, I started talking to one of her favorite teachers who had just returned from week-long trip to Arizona. She takes a regular trip there with a friend of hers and recounted a story of how her fellow travel companion was hiking and brushed up against something spiny. …

It’s Not a Costume, It’s a Custom

Roman: “Mamma. I’m half-Indian, right?” Me: “That’s right, buddy.” Roman: “Well, when will I be whole-Indian?” ———- Like so many aspects of parenting, sometime the simplest questions are also the most complex. I am transported back to staring at tiny curls littering the tiled floor. My heart felt heavy, and I tried desperately to suppress tears…

The Land of no Nod

The fiery hue of the sunset exploded across the skyline like the remnants of a blazing volcano. I exhaled, closed my eyes for a second, and opened them just in time to see the stoplight turn green.  With a renewed sense of calm, I pushed the gas pedal down just as a series of honks…

Breathing Fire

“Can I have applesauce?” “How about now?” “Mamma, applesauce?” “May I please have applesauce?” “Mamma, are you listening to me? I want applesauce?” “Can you get me some?” “Mamma?” “Mamma?” “Mamma?” The pain then creeps up my leg like a slow burning wildfire.  With my hands balled into fists and my arms straight at my…

Expecting the Unexpected

“And if we ever leave a legacy It’s that we loved each other well.” – Indigo Girls, Power of Two It was the picture I was dreading to see. At first, I forgot it was even there. Tucked in with the images of my handsome husband and the smiling faces of our two beautiful children, and…

The Futile Dance

As we walked through the Locks looking at the boats and soaking in the bits of sunshine that broke through the quintessential Seattle overcast, I heard a distressed and repetitive quacking that triggered my mamma bear radar, and I knew instantly something was off. As we approached a gathering crowd, a saw a duck pacing…

Memory Lane is Paved with Dandelions

I looked at my sweet boy who seemed to be transforming before my eyes.  His bouncing curls had all but disappeared, and his course hair now only yielded a hint of a wave around his cowlick. His ankles peeked through the bottom of his jeans that are now two inches off of the ground, and he…

Golden Opportunity

“All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien I had seen this photograph of my grandmother riding a tractor in an album at my aunt’s house for years, and it…

Blossom(less)

I had big plans to drop my son off at preschool and come home to a freshly brewed pot of coffee and try to write something funny, poignant and thought-provoking for this month’s KINDRED. Perhaps something about how I want to teach my biracial kids to own who they are and speak up for themselves,…