Let go teen

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

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35 Thoughts on “When You Want to Hold on Longer

  1. Not easy being a parent but then you also need to let them go as you rightly say.. We can only hope to set them free and also that they are safe and happy in their exploits..
    Nabanita recently posted…My Maths Teacher, Mrs KapoorMy Profile

  2. Such a pleasure to read this, Rachna. What a proud mom you must be today. Sid sounds like he had a great time and a responsible one at that. I am dreading the time when Gy will leave home on a trip or to go away and study. I cannot bear the idea of it at all 🙁
    Shailaja Vishwanath recently posted…Five more minutesMy Profile

  3. Here’s wishing Siddharth the very best 🙂

  4. This is the hardest things of all – to trust them to be responsible and manage on their own and to let go. I have been agonising over this for ever so long. Yet I cannot think how I’ll ha dle it when the time comes. You’re one of the sanest of them all. I am still gathering courage to allow them a night out.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…A tween in my kitchenMy Profile

  5. So beautifully you summarised the post with a Buddha’s quote. It’s amazing how kids act so mature and grown up… And your son for sure will be a global traveller … he is already experiencing the joys of different cultures outside India.
    I had gone through the same feeling with my kid brother. I still can’t believe how responsible he has become.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…Grimms #RIPChristinaGrimmieMy Profile

  6. Can totally relate to this one…I got into panic mode when my 10 yr old went to Kanyakumari all alone for the first time…I don’t know if I’d survive if he went as far as Malaysia! But I guess that is bound to happen some day… All we can do is teach them right from wrong, give them some self-help tips and they’d be fine. easier said than done, I know!

  7. Wow! I went on my first such school trip when I was in class XI. I never thought my parents would have been feeling so anxious about me. Parenting is a real tough job, isn’t it? One moment your heart swells with love and pride, next moment it’s torn up with aches & breaks! Phewww!
    Kaddu recently posted…Why Haven’t I Blogged For Two Months?My Profile

  8. Lovely post 🙂 To all parents wanting to hold on to their children longer, just like mine were once… here is a poem –
    On Children, Kahlil Gibran

    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.

    You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
    For they have their own thoughts.
    You may house their bodies but not their souls,
    For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
    which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
    You may strive to be like them,
    but seek not to make them like you.
    For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

    You are the bows from which your children
    as living arrows are sent forth.
    The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
    and He bends you with His might
    that His arrows may go swift and far.
    Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
    For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
    so He loves also the bow that is stable.

    • I have read this poem, Iliana. It is beautiful. I completely agree. But you know it is a completely different ballgame once you are the parent. 🙂 Besides, there is no harm in feeling sad at the letting go process. We don’t want to stifle their growth but we also want to hold on a little longer. Sigh!
      Rachna recently posted…When You Want to Hold on LongerMy Profile

  9. I hope your son had a great time. I’ve never been on an a trip too far from home but I have been away for five days during an adventure camp. That was enough for my mother to sprout apprehensions and worries very similar to yours, I can imagine how worried you must have been.

    Sometimes parents become so protective of their children that they are deprived of such opportunities to become independent. It is nice to know that though you have your worries for your child, it comes along with pride too, and being wise enough to let go. 🙂
    Dashy recently posted…The Liebster’s Here !My Profile

    • Oh yes, Dashy. No point in hindering their growth. That will make them inhibited. But it is a painful process for the parents to realize that they are growing up too fast and will fly the nest some day soon. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.
      Rachna recently posted…When You Want to Hold on LongerMy Profile

  10. Children are always fledglings in the eyes and minds of ever protective parents and when they fly out of the nest in style and grace that is when they take wings, we are overawed by the situation and the ease of independence with which they do despite the cocooned upbringing…nice honest post Rachna…

  11. Never an easy process. While a part of you feels elated that they are doing so well without you, another part wonders if they miss you as much as you miss them.
    Purba recently posted…Hello beautiful, you sent me out of control!My Profile

  12. When Vidur left for college, it felt like my heart was wrenched out. One day he was sleeping at home, and the next day he occupied a room in a city 2300 kilometers away! Sometimes I thought my crying would solve the water problem – but he manages just fine. And from that, I get my confidence. Nevertheless, it is not easy and never will be, because we are we and they are they. We worry for their safety, and they grow … and reassure us. Hugs Rachna. You’re a good mommy! And congratulations to Siddharth. Blessings.
    Vidya Sury recently posted…My visit to JOHNSON’S® Shanghai #ABCCircle #johnsonsbabyMy Profile

    • I am dreading that day, Vidya. I can imagine how heart wrenching it must be for you. I remember that my cousin went to a hostel at a very young age. And how his parents howled every time he left back though he had adapted pretty quickly. You beautifully said that we are we and they are they. We worry for their safety and they for our sanity. 🙂 Thanks and hugs back.

  13. Lovely post, Rachna. But you know…..these feelings are alien for me because I lost my mother at a very early age. I think I have mentioned this to you earlier. I often saw friends were talking over phones to their mothers about the stations and all other things in train journey, when we’re going or returning during college vacations. I found it strange. I mean we’re Engineering Students but for mothers, it seemed like my friends were toddlers. I understand this is all about protection instinct of mothers. I very guess humans are only species in which children live for a very long time with their parents.

    • Thanks, Ravish. Yes, you have mentioned it to me. It must be so heartbreaking for you and it made you self-sufficient at a very young age. I think it is natural for a parent to worry about a 14 year old going on an overseas trip. I am a worrier by nature. I worry about everything and everyone. 🙂 I guess humans share the deepest bonds with other humans and strong relationships with their parents.

      • Hey, why would it be heartbreaking? For me, it was a natural thing. Well, I felt it strange when my friends had to seek permission from their mothers to do the regular things. Instead, I felt proud that I could make my own decisions. My father always explained the pros and cons of the situations and used to ask me to take my own decisions. Well, don’t be a worrier but warrior. 😉
        Ravish Mani recently posted…How to be Established in State of Highest WisdomMy Profile

        • Heartbreaking l meant for losing your mother not for seeking permission. Why would grown up teens seek permission? I never did when l was that age. Neither will my kids be expected to take permission. But worrying about them when they they step into a new situation is natural fit any parent l would think. 🙂

  14. You have begun and begun well, to let go, Rachna. For me, I had trained myself to begin when they had started walking. I might sound like a heartless mother, but I knew that if I didn’t begin the process that early, I would be fretting all my life. Though I went through all the heartaches when the boys left home a few years apart, I am glad I had prepared myself for a long time 🙂 Siddharth will do well wherever he goes and so will Gautam. They have sensible parents 🙂

    • I had begun when Sid was about 8. I sent him and his brother with a relative but that experience was so terrifying that it almost stopped my heart. I just did not have it on me to entrust them to other people without one of the parents being around. But since last year, l am letting him do more things on his own always with his acceptance. But this was a big step and as expected her handled everything well and what he did not have him immense learning. But yes, l will miss him a lot as he and l share an amazing wavelength and camaraderie. But this is how life is. Hopefully, he will always be just a phone call or flight away. 🙂 Thank you for your warm words. When l see Sid and Gautam, l feel pretty proud of myself and G. 🙂

  15. I loved this post Rachna.
    Yes it is very difficult to loosen the strings,one feels so apprehensive about the kids’ safety.But you have obviously given him a solid foundation.Don’t worry.

  16. Very difficult indeed. You have to keep the stone over your heart as the little birds finally fly away..
    Asha recently posted…Emil’s EnemiesMy Profile

  17. WHAT a coincidence – my today’s post is on ‘letting go’ 🙂
    C. Suresh recently posted…Letting goMy Profile

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