Friday, 24 July 2015

Letting Them Go

Parenting is an easy task. Good parenting doesn't exactly fit in the category of easy tasks. Most couples enter this new phase with a preconceived set of notions. There are books available that are again born out of the unique experiences and issues that people face everyday in order to give these new breed of parents a chance at excelling at this daunting task. There is no 'one size fits all'. Whilst there is a lot of help available on how and what we should teach our children, there is absolutely no literature available that tells parents how much or what they may learn; nothing that would tell them or give them an inkling about how they would need to learn to let go.

One afternoon, my mother came back from work and saw me running around the house, collecting stuff. A suitcase lay open half filled with my clothes. I dumped the things I had in my hand in the suitcase and dashed out of the room for another round. She was flabbergasted for a few moments, trying to grasp the status-quo. When she found her voice, she posed the question. "What's happening? Where are you going?" I did not reply the first time, thinking, calculating, trying to carve out a defence argument if she says the dreaded word, 'No'. She put her bag down on a table and started following me around the house. She forgot how hungry and tired she was. All she wanted to know was where am I planning to go.

When I dumped the last set of things in the suitcase and was convinced that I had enough clothes and toiletries to last for the next twelve days. I turned to her and said, "I have to go to a camp I have volunteered for and it begins in precisely 2 hours."

She was looking at me with large questioning eyes and I saw she was struggling to find words.
"Where is it being held?" I told her the address. "For how many days?" I said 12. Her eyes widened. "You should wait for your dad and ask for his permission."

"Mom, no, I'm not waiting for him to be back. I have given my word and I have to report in 2 hours." I bet she hadn't seen this coming when she allowed her 13 year old daughter to enrol in the military cadet corps. I could see she was thinking hard. For what seemed like a few moments, she asked, "Am I allowed to come and see you?" I hugged her tight, "Yes, you can. Every evening."

I don't know if she realised it then or not that she had just crossed a huge milestone in her journey as a parent. She had learnt to think beyond the age old question that gnaws at every mother's heart. Will my children be safe? She had learnt to let her little baby girl go.

No guide on parenting has ever mentioned it; a lesson that my mother and countless other parents learn everyday only by experience- You will have to let your children go. One day, you will have to stop protecting them and let them learn to live by themselves. You will have to let them spread their wings if you want to see them soar. 

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