Imagine someone walked up to you as you sat there having a coffee at a roadside cafe, gave you a package and said “Congratulations, we’ve picked your name from the phone book, here are the keys to national war office, you are now in-charge of deciding what we are going to do with China, Russia, Syria & Iran”
Won’t happen right? BUT everyday, everywhere, someone becomes in-charge of the future of another. Someone is responsible for the life of another. Someone shapes the world for another.
No one asks if it’s okay, before you are charged with this immense task- both a privilege & responsibility….
Parenthood- how amazing that in a split second after a child is born, you realise your life will never be the same again. Some changes are visible and overt- meals, housework, trips, meetings, weekends and socialising all change their shapes and meaning depending on what age the child is.
Other changes are more covert, less visible- you think about things, you never would have before- whether it is the type of books stocked in grocery store aisles or the over friendly coffee shop owner, where you’d previously bought coffee for years!
Even more intangible are the changes that happen in your head- are you doing the right things, making the right decisions, modelling the right behaviours? Are your spending enough time with your children, are you taking enough interest in their lives? Are you taking too much interest in their lives? Should I have said all those things last night, last week, last year? Am I the reason for their current stress? Have I made sure they ate well when they were 3 or 5 or 15?
Every parent agonises over these things, in some way or the other. Some doing it openly, others in privacy…. I do it every which way!
A couple of days ago, having a discussion with Nav, about his new responsibilities of voting, his clear rationalisation for his preferences and the conviction of his views amazed me.
Some hours later, I realised I was saddened – this was no longer a child, a young boy who I could baby…..somewhere the time had flown and before my eyes, a transformation had happened.
Hot on the heels of this earth shaking moment, a confident young woman told me at dinner how she had checked her tax returns and made sure a bonus contribution had been done properly and proceeded to have a chat about the budget just announced. Lightning moment once again…..I struggled to compute that this confident young person was the same kid who flushed her dad’s contact lenses down the drain….
AND the other realisation happened…..much of who they are today and how they face the world and front up to their challenges are wholly a product of their efforts, their work and their aspirations. I as a mother knew nothing about child rearing and was well and truly learning on the go and making mistakes first and apologising later.
My own experiences as a brash youngster now shocks me, always adventurous, stubborn and phenomenally outspoken- I must have been a painful trial for my parents.
Reflecting back, I now appreciate their soft touch parenting, not forcing me to do anything I did not want to and backing me in following my weird passions. Not letting me sense their discomfort as I waltzed off to strange villages and slums or when took public
transport back home at late hours. Through all the years, I never felt restricted or felt the need to hide what I was doing, because they never seemed shocked…. I have now a whole new respect….my children usually tell me that their grandparents are far cooler parents than Ravi & I are!
Most days, I send a silent prayer, to thank the Gods, for being so kind….
they weathered many challenges, fell down hard, got up, dusted off and learnt their lessons and moved on…
And with every new thing they see, they say and sense….I realise that they now need the parent just as a sounding board and as a supporting anchor- should they need either.
Happy Mother’s Day…..to all the mothers, who nurture and then let their young fly!