Last month my daughter flew the nest towards her desired college, leaving me unsettled and moping at first. I had been dreading this moment and she knew this. Her name for me in this pre daughter-going -away stage was “Lil Min Waterworks” which I bore with an apparent insouciance. As the days grew closer, every little thing she did or said left me with a wistful expression, causing hoots of laughter from my children -“look mom ! Dad’s crying,” was their constant refrain, much to their amusement.
She finally left on the 15th August and the whole family accompanied her to her new college. It was exciting for all of us and the 3 days of induction swept by in a happy swirl of fun and activity. The house seemed unusually quiet when we returned, but Life soon resumed at its frenzied pace once again.
I had two choices, either mope around and get stuck in a sentimental rut of emotion and past memories. Or wish my daughter well and pray for her to be strong – mentally, physically and spiritually as she embarked on this new and exciting phase of her life. I chose the latter approach and am glad it is serving me well.
The ebb and flow of Life does not cease if you resist it. On the contrary, it will still flow unceasingly and in resisting it you only cause misery to yourself. Rather, let events unfold around you while you remain centred in yourself. Events by themselves have little meaning – their meaning gets coloured by our likes, dislikes and perceptions. In letting go of my daughter -both physically and mentally – I find myself in a calm space. Yes, I still miss her tremendously but my emotions are now tempered with a calm acceptance of the situation which helps me to move forward with my Life.
Life is meant to be lived, joyously at each stage, happy and grateful to have received her bounty and with an acquiescence of both the good and the painful, the perfect and the flawed. The memories of my leaving home to explore the world come rushing back to me, along with my father’s struggle to accept my resolve to spread my wings. The key to a peaceful existence, I realise, is detachment.
A quiet realisation now dawns, life has indeed turned full circle for me. I now appreciate better both the trials and the triumph of raising children.
The full import of Kahlil Gibran’s profound declaration seeps into my consciousness – “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.”