When I ask Asha that she needs to stop growing up so fast, her immediate response is that I shouldn’t worry because she can still fit in my lap. And since dangling limbs are discounted as long as I have the rest of her, we agree that this growing business is alright!
But inside, inside I feel so strange to have this bun that made me a mother, now old enough to actually use logic and words and be a person who takes care of me too. Dates with Asha have a whole new meaning these days because they indeed are restoritive and inspirational just like when I talk to my girlfriends.
In the days leading up to her big day, I asked her what she wanted for her birthday! To say that her answer surprised me is an understatement. Instead of wishing for unregulated TV time, or crap load of stickers and markers, or everything that is produced in the color pink, Asha asked for some alone time with me and Devang. And okay, yes, a trip to chuck-e-cheese too!
As my first born, Asha has certainly experienced the kind of attention that my other two can’t claim. But of course, she doesn’t quite remember that time when our entire world circled around her needs. These days, as an older sister, Asha’s maternal instincts and thoughtfulness often make me see her as my co-captain. But here she was, reminding me that she is still my little baby girl!
So let’s just say that I went a little crazy in planning this requested “alone time”! After getting blessings from grandparents who were willing to come and spend a fun weekend with the boys, I decided that the three of us would celebrate with a one-night staycation in Durham. And knowing my love for fancy hotels, I couldn’t resist making 21C Museum Hotel our HQ. If you have ever wonder what it might feel like to spend a night at a museum, but in a luxurious bed, with a big TV, and a Nespresso machine all to yourself, then this is the place for you my friends!
The celebrations on her actual birthday started by sharing cupcakes with her classmates, followed with an evening as a flower girl at our friends Ankur and Arezu’s wedding, where she also got to experience what it feels like when 150 guests sing happy birthday in unison.
The next day, after even more fun with the grandparents and a movie date to watch Captain Marvel, we finally headed to Durham around 6pm – just the three of us – for a night of undevided unattention for the newly minted 6-year-old. We checked into our room and walked around the hotel to see all the art which had changed a lot since my last visit.
The night continued at Pizza Toro followed with an evening walk around the downtown area, and eventually ending at The Parlour for some ice cream. I visit Durham often enough for work, but have never lingered as much as I did that night. It was a treat even for me! It also felt very strange just having one kid with us.
The next morning, all three of us slept-in, since the early risers were back home ; ). Asha got the middle of the king-size bed, a covited spot which usually goes to Ajay. We lingered in bed to watch some TV and play cards, She colored with my sharpie markers which isn’t something I allow when the younger siblings are around. Then we kissed the pink penguin good-bye and took one last tour of the hotel. I wanted to show her the bank vault in the basement which had been turned into a lounge, but still has all the lockers, iron-door, and the spy-maze,intact!
Before heading home, we made one last pit-stop for lunch at Eastcut Sandwich bar, before heading back home to Raleigh.
We were gone from about 6:00pm to noon the next day. So yeah, just a few hours, but it was surprising how time slowed down. Asha’s birthday wish in a way, also ended up being a wonderful down-time for me and Devang. And mama loves a chance to stay at a fancy hotel anytime the universe allows it. I have to give a big thanks to 21c Museum Hotel for making these few hours so memorable and special! For those of you who are ever in Durham, all their exhibits are free and open to the public so, celebrating a birthday or not, make sure to stop in and see all the amazing things (and the basement maze!).
And now for the annual questions that I ask Asha on her birthday. This year’s answers clearly show that my baby is venturing out into the world learning new things and opening up new doors with new friends! As always, I hope that she is surrounded by kindness and friendships that carry her through everything that life has to offer! Happy 6th birthday Asha! I hope you had a good one!
pink, purple, red
songs from Trolls, Frozen, and Moana
What will you be when you are older?
ice skater, teacher
Favorite thing to do?
arts and crafts; play on the beach with my family
Who is your best buddy?
Ellen, Ellah, Ellah, Nora, June
How do you cheer yourself up when you are sad?
Giving myself a big hug. Having my friends come over
What is the best part of being 6-years-old?
doing big kid stuff
What are some of the new things you are going to try this year?
ride a bike
Where do you hope to travel this year?
Disney World, Beach, Japan
Here are Asha’s answers to these questions as a 5-year-old!