Let go. Let them free. Give them wings. All phrases we toss with such casual ease sitting in our comfortable cocoons at home. Those of us who have younger kids feel that the situation is so far away that it does not even merit a thought. And for people like me with a teen in the house, it feels like a looming possibility. Not immediate but impending.
As the elder son went to claim the Malaysia trip that he won as a prize for a quiz competition, he travelled on his own with no family member accompanying him. By every stretch of imagination, sending your child on an overseas trip when you are not around to supervise is extremely daunting. You are filled with all kinds of crazy apprehensions. Can he handle his papers, his money, his belongings. Will he be careful enough while sightseeing, while crossing the street? Will he think on his feet? How will he gel with others in the group whom he does not know. You pin all your hopes on the teacher who accompanies him to be firm yet gentle. And then you are asked to sign an indemnity form that scares you even more. Short of writing off your inheritance they ask you to waive every right you hold for your child’s safety for the duration of his travel.
That monster in your heart rears its ugly head again. But then he though nervous shows you how he looks forward to an adventure. And you want to do everything in your power to make this a happy trip for him right from planning his snacks to deciding which currency and how much should he carry with him. And then just like that on a pouring evening you bid goodbye to him. He carrying his luggage and hugging his backpack with a tiny smile on his face looking like a young man that he has slowly turned into in the past few months.
You wait for his WhatsApp messages to update his status. You speak everyday exchanging notes, as he tells you a lot of the funny, enjoyable and stupid stuff he has seen. He tells you about the annoying kid he has met, the bad food and the broken door handle and you fume on his behalf. He posts pictures so that you can enjoy his sightseeing and his dry wit when he describes his experiences making you chuckle loudly and also making you impressed at how good his vocabulary is. A parent’s moment of pride!
I can see how he is growing wings. He is a global traveller now. This solo trip even though with a teacher will add to his confidence and independence. He is getting well prepared for a time when he will step out of the home for studies/career, when a parent will only be there to guide him through the thoughts in his head and the upbringing that he has got.
It gives me mixed feelings because the process is so important and yet so difficult. Like Coco, I want to hold my family together, but I know it is not practical. One day they will leave the nest and claim what is their destiny. I am just so proud to see them make confident strides in that direction while we parents take baby steps in letting go.
You only lose what you cling to — Buddha
The prodigal son returned home last night after almost 5 days. Don’t worry, I will be back with the teen angst posts soon enough. 😀
PS: Pic courtesy: Shutterstock