Category: growing up

Can a parent ever let go?

Can a parent ever let go?

This past week, in a bit of a coincidence, I’ve stumbled across multiple stories from friends – children and parents – who’ve disagreed with each other over important life-decisions like the choice of career or life partner.

It’s heartbreaking – this disagreeing with people closest to you, this not being able to understand each others thoughts and motivations.

Desperate children have been driven to the brink of suicide because they haven’t found it in their hearts to rebel. When I was younger I’d wonder why parents wouldn’t let them learn from their own mistakes. It seemed like such a logical thing to do.

As a mom now, I am no longer so certain. My children seem such a part of me, like a physical living part of my body, my heart, that it seems only natural to reach out and stop them, protect them from making mistakes. Separating myself from them seems the hardest thing I will ever need to do.

I wonder where I will find the courage to let them do something that, to my mind, is clearly a disaster. Would I be okay if they left the tried and tested to strike out on an unknown journey? Would I be okay, for instance, if one of them chose a career in music over academics, or would want to try their luck in Bollywood or strike out in the jungles as a photographer?

Would I be able to let them go? And yet be ready to have their back should they fail? Without a hint of ‘I told you so’? And then when they’re back up on their feet, would I be ready to let them make their next mistake? Be ready to have their back yet again?

It’s not going to be easy.

As I’ve grown older, possibly wiser, I’ve known some people who rebelled against their parents and found happiness. Some didn’t. Some heeded their advice and found happiness, others didn’t.

The thing is, one never can tell with life.

While children follow their passion, parents have to be the voice of reason. Click To Tweet

Ever so slowly, I hope they learn to balance their passion with reason, on their own. And I hope I’m around till they learn to do that. As their parent if I’m even writing this post, thinking I will have to let them go someday, it’s a step forward.

Meanwhile I make this promise to myself..

that I shall keep an open mind and respect their wish to follow their passion.

that I shall always always place their happiness above societal pressures – a lesson gifted to me by my parents.

and most of all, I will never close the doors of communication.

And I hope when the time comes, the children will give me and my concerns a patient hearing. And then, if they choose to go ahead despite it all, I shall find the courage to stand by them.

***********

 

Linking up with Mackenzie at Reflections from Me #mg

The Road to Independence #Monday Musings

The Road to Independence #Monday Musings

Last weekend as I was picking up H from his guitar class we saw one of his classmates walking back home. He lives close by and goes to the same  class.

I happened to say, ‘How very responsible and independent he is! Walking back home by himself!’ And that, dear friend, was a mistake  you must remember never to make when you’re with your tween. I regretted it almost immediately.

Never praise the independence of another child unless you are willing to let yours have it too. Click To Tweet

I really should have just kept my mouth shut. But then even the most cautious of us slips occasionally.

Obviously, H wouldn’t stop talking about it. Obviously he pestered me to let him walk there and back on his own. The distance doesn’t worry me, it is a little over 1.5 kms. It’s the fact that he would have to cross roads twice through fast-moving traffic and the fact that he is rather absent-minded.

Of late I have started allowing the twins step out on their own. They walk down to the stationery shop to get their own supplies and to the library. We are fortunate to have all of those within a few hundred meters around our apartment complex. I love it that they can run small errands for me like picking up grocery or giving clothes for ironing, which takes such a load off me, while making them feel responsible too.

But this was something I was skeptical about.

After much discussion (read argument) and silent contemplation (read sulking) we reached an agreement, or so I thought. It was decided that we would have a few ‘trials’. H asked if he could walk back with his friend. I agreed, assuming I would be walking with the two of them. Of course he assumed I wasn’t.

When the weekend approached and he realised I was going to walk with them he threw a fit, the kind of fit only a be-dead-rather-than-be-seen-with-mom-by-your-friend tween can throw. After another round of ‘discussions’ and ‘silent contemplation’ he said I could walk along as long as I kept twenty paces behind them.

So imagine this – H walking ahead with his friend pretending he didn’t know me and I following like a detective sent out by a suspicious wife to keep an eye on her cheating husband (or vice versa, for that matter), ready to turn my back or duck behind lamp posts to avoid being spotted, except he would have been more worried than me about me being seen.

The things one has to do for one’s children!

Mercifully, H tired of the walk soon-enough and realised that getting a ride with me was a way more comfortable option. I’ve begun to look upon laziness as a serious virtue. For now, the matter is resolved, till the next bout of independence strikes.

Meanwhile we are practicing crossing roads together, while I practice keeping my mouth shut. Tight.

What do you think, dear reader? Am I being too cautious, ‘overprotective’ as H accuses me of? What’s the right age to let children out on the roads on their own? And I’m talking Indian roads here.

 

Linking up with #MondayMusings at Everydaygyan

 

With Mackenzie at Reflections from Me

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Holding onto childhood traditions #MondayMusings

Holding onto childhood traditions #MondayMusings

Yesterday evening N came out of the washroom triumphantly holding up a tooth, a huge grin on her face. You might wonder at the grin considering this is hardly her first one to fall off. They’re well into their molars now.

Well, even though they have long since busted the tooth fairy myth, they continue to extort a princely sum of Rs 20 each time a tooth falls off. Since they are oddly reluctant to spend their pocket-money, which I started them off on recently, they look forward to this ‘windfall’.

I don’t really mind.

What I do mind is that N expects the entire tooth-fairy hoopla along with it.

“Don’t forget to leave the money under the pillow,” she reminded me. “Not like last time, okay? You forgot and when I looked and didn’t find any and was very sad you sneaked it in later and then came and asked me ‘Did you look really properly’ (*she mimics my grown up voice*). Of course I’d looked properly but then I had to look again and I knew you had put it in later but I had to pretend to be surprised. I saw you, okay! I saw you put in the money later,” she said.

Seriously? Is there anything she doesn’t know? And this makes the whole exercise even more pointless in my eyes. Why Oh why put my poor over-worked brain under so much stress when she knows everything?

I have no clue at all.

Yet, like a dutiful mom, I waited for her to fall asleep yesterday and (for once) remembered to go back to their room and put the money under her pillow.

As I watched her turn in her sleep and settle down again, I thought perhaps, like me, she was also reluctant to let go of these little bits of her childhood.

It’s rather strange that N should do this because she was the more independent one as a baby, wriggling out of our laps, longing to be set free while H was the clingy one craving physical contact. And now, as they grow, he’s the one clamouring for more freedom everyday while she holds on to her babyhood tenaciously.

Strange creatures, these kids.

Do you remember a childhood tradition that you still follow with your parents? Or do you have one with your children which they have outgrown but refuse to let go? I’d love to know.

Linking up with #MondayMusings

And also with Mackenzie at Reflections from Me

Why I sweat the small stuff

Why I sweat the small stuff

Dear H and N,

You know as well as I do that mornings aren’t the best time of the day for us. The stepping out of that warm quilt, the quick shower, the scramble for the id-card, the rush to the bus-stop – not quite your favourite things. I know.
A lot of these things aren’t really mandatory at school – like the bath or the ID card. And yet I insist. No you cannot stay up late on a school night, you cannot stay home just because you are feeling lazy today, you cannot go without a bath and you have to put your towel out to dry, yes you have to wear your ID card every day and yes you have to make two ponytails.
“But my teacher doesn’t mind,” you had whined today. You have a point, of course. So why should we struggle and worry and pick an argument every morning?
No I’m not crazy, though you may not quite believe it yet.
Let me begin at the beginning.
I was brought up in a disciplined household where we were taught to respect rules, at home and in school. Like you, I didn’t always agree with my parents. Many days I scrambled for the bus. I trimmed my nails on the way to school, I cut up my ribbon to make the mandatory two ponytails when I forgot. And when I couldn’t ‘manage the situation’ I was prepared for the punishment aware that I was at fault. Not that I had a choice.
It’s tough, isn’t it? Doing it the ‘proper’ way all the time?
As I grew I learnt that it was okay to stretch the deadline, be a little late, bend the rules and then further I learnt it was okay sometimes to not be completely honest. Yes I learnt all of that and I did it too.
So, I hear you ask, when we have to grow up to live in an imperfect world why not begin to learn its ways right now? Why struggle to learn things we will need to unlearn later? It’s the easier way, the more comfortable one, after all.
Here’s why..
Imagine my mum had told me it was okay to lie occasionally, that rules didn’t much matter and punctuality was useless. Would I, then, have even tried to do any of those things? How would I have even known right from wrong?
There lies the difference.
Each time I took the easy alternative I knew it wasn’t quite right. And I did try ever so hard to stick to the rules before I took up the other way. Even while I’m aware that I live in an imperfect world, I continue to appreciate and value a good habit, a disciplined lifestyle, an attempt at doing the right thing. The awareness of good and bad is the first step to striving for the good and it is my job to pass on this awareness to you, dear children, in as undiluted a form as I possibly can.
For now you will simply have to believe that the rules are there for a reason. In another few years you’ll be gone, studying and living on your own. I know then you will dump many of them. Do that, by all means, enjoy the freedom, stay up late, skip the bath, miss the bus. I did it too. What you do later in life, how you use your childhood lessons, whether you use them at all, will depend entirely on you.
I am hoping, however, that when you’ve had your fill of freedom, reason will return, like it did to me. I am hoping, as you grow you will see the wisdom of these age old values. Not all will stand the test of time and that is fine. You will question them and change them and make some of your own.
But when it comes to the really big things, I am hoping, you will know right from wrong and that you will find the courage to do the right thing.
I am counting on it.
That’s why I sweat the small stuff now – because often it is the small stuff that makes a big difference.

 

Love and hugs

MaPic: PIXABAY

When Chalk and Cheese decide to mix

When Chalk and Cheese decide to mix

The twins are back at school. This year is a bit of leap for them from primary to secondary and the sections have been shuffled pretty drastically. As a result they left all their friends behind. 

A surprise…
However something quite spectacular happened – something that we have successfully avoided for the past 6 years – they have landed up in the same section. This happened only once before when they were in nursery and such was the mayhem they created that the teacher begged us to ensure it never happened again.

Why we never want the kids in the same class
Not only are we worried for the teacher’s sanity, the Husband and I, dreadfully dread the C word – The Comparison. Up until now they have been very secure in themselves and their capabilities. I am afraid to rock the boat. Then there’s the other thing – Competition. The whole world does not matter to them but they compete with each other passionately. This has often lead to tears for one or the other.
But sometimes we have little choice
However, when I suggested I’d get one of them to change their section, in a rare show of extreme bhaichara and solidarity they broke off from their squabbling to protest in unison. An onlooker would have branded us evil parents trying to separate the joint-at-the-hip twins. So we have finally decided to let them be together and watch how it goes.
For now they are sitting together and coming home with new stories everyday, laughing good-naturedly at each other.
– She is the blackboard in charge, he is in charge of the morning prayer.
– While she sits like a lady with back erect and hands crossed (that’s how one should sit in class, says she), he sprawls on his chair (how can we concentrate if we aren’t comfortable, asks he).
– He lost his locker key on day 1, she discovered her key could unlock his locker too.
– She almost dozed off during Marathi class and he nudged her awake.
– She forgot to take her pencil box, he lent her a pen.
He resents it a bit that she gets more than her share of attention from the teacher purely because she is ‘better behaved’ – those are his words, not mine. Other than that it has been largely peaceful.
Change can be good
It’s been almost three weeks. I waited to do this post lest I jinx the whole camaraderie thing. It’s so good while it lasts.
This got me thinking and I wondered what it would be like if I shared a class or a workplace with my sister. I’d like it I think. Maybe that’s only because I don’t get to see enough of her.
What about you? Would you like to be in the same class/office as your sibling? Would it be one big party everyday or would the closeness get to you after a while?

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