Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.– Kahlil Gibran
The hardest thing to do is to try and design your emotions to experience a kind of static when inside, you are feeling a tornado of sorts that’s destroying you, hurting you, paining you.
I just left my daughter to boarding school – a new way of life, a very different ethos. We’ve been preparing for this move for the last two months now and there have been a number of moments when I told myself that it will be difficult but only best for her; it
helped me calm myself. But now, having come face to face with the reality of her actually being there, I feel absolutely torn. I can’t imagine the pain and hurt the experience brought with it.
You feel the vulnerability of life in these weak moments. I’ve often shared how she’s been my teacher, my student, my muse, my cool breeze, my warm sunshine – how can I then let her be there all by herself. How will she manage…how will I live… Am I being selfish to think like this? I know this is good for her…. yet all these thoughts just seemed to envelope me. For more than 72 hours, I could not seem to reason with myself that what she was about to gain is far and beyond my imagination. I did not know how should I deal with this…what should I do to fill this gap…I don’t want to fill the gap, I kept telling myself. I want her, I want to be able to hug her, kiss her, chat with her for hours… if it wasn’t for some self restraint, I would have really reversed the whole situation as I was miserable.
It was Day 3 and I received an email from her – “I love it here!” she said. She also said that they had eggs for breakfast and that she attended the most fabulous class in Biology and that she had already picked a new book to read and that they celebrated the World Environment Day in the most unique way and so much more…it was one exciting thing after another!
And just like that, the emotional mother in me was silenced by the spirited strength of my 15 year old. I felt so proud and re-assured that things will be challenging but that’s where growth lies (for her and perhaps even for me).
I have a new found respect for parents who choose this tough path for their children. It’s about understanding that an empty nest means that your bird is learning to fly among the clouds, at the same time, it’s to do with believing that it’s not just about giving them wings, it’s also about nurturing roots that strengthen them for life. These parents value courage as a developed trait and wisdom as a tough lesson imbibed through experience.
So as I come to terms with the distance between us, I realise that it’s still hard to let go, but it might be harder to hold on…