Where do I start, I am wondering.
Once my son entered teens, throughout his growing up years, what was important for me was to steer him towards finding his own unique qualities, talents, likes and dislikes. My focus was on being there to guide him whenever, wherever he needed. Sometimes I did it with his knowledge, and sometimes quietly from behind the scenes. The important point was that the choices had to be his own, and even the steps.
I had been brought up in a very protective way, idealistic way, with lots of love. My parents were excellent parents, genuinely caring, very protective. Especially my dad and my granddad, who were way ahead of times in their thinking. And I believe that made me the person I am. However, it also made me naïve and dependent. Later in life, when I was going through some not so pleasant experiences, it became rather difficult for me to accept some harsh realities of life. Had I been exposed to all aspects of life just the way they were, I may have perceived these experiences as just realities of life, rather than harsh realities of life.
My mom has five sisters, and I often heard people telling my granddad, "You are so lucky that you have six daughters, and all your sons-in-law are so good.” I used to wonder what is so special about these uncles of mine. According to me they were all just normal loving people. Later in life when I experienced people who were totally different from my idea of how people are, I was shattered. I had lived such a sheltered life that I actually believed that some people are only meant for stories and movies. I could not believe they are there in real life too. Yes I was naïve to the extent of stupidity. For the first time I actually understood the value of good people.
My learning - can we bring up our children in a realistic manner, rather than an idealistic one. So I gave my son enough space to grow, and to even make mistakes, yet letting him know that I will be there to hold him, support him whenever he so needs. Our children are not our proud possessions to be displayed in their best finery. Guide them and yet allow them to be themselves.
Me and my son….. I think the best thing about our relationship has been that we have almost always been in communication, about the most important things, and the seemingly trivial things as well. We would often have discussions over his friends, his girl-friends, his hobbies, his career, money matters, etc. We would talk about everything.
When things were not so pleasant between me and my husband, I could speak to my 6 years old son that I was thinking of moving out, and what does he feel about it. To him I was his mom for sure, but more importantly I was another human being with my own strengths and weaknesses too, my own successes and failures. I did not have to pretend to be a supermom, or superhuman.
I am aware that a lot of things he was just learning by observing what was going on at home, in life, in our family, without my telling him to.
Rather early in his life, I asked him to start making choices, and more importantly, take responsibility of those choices. There is nothing wrong if your choice does not ultimately turn out to be the best, or great. We all make mistakes in life, and have our shares of failures. That is life. Life does not provide us a set manual for living. We live by trial and error. What is important is that we do not put the blame on someone else when things do not turn out the way we expected them to. Nor do we need to feel guilty about it for the rest of our life. Just learn from our mistakes, and move on. Become a person that you feel worthy of, proud of.
Experience every reality of life, enjoy every moment of it, enjoy the journey. It is full of beautiful, loving, generous, great people. However, you decide the person you choose to be.
You may face various temptations in life. I do not want to say, it is bad to give in to a temptation, because you must not just suppress yourself and live in self-denial either. However, you need to ask yourself if you would really like to go for it, or are you going for it under maybe peer pressure, or maybe to escape from some other situation. If that be so, it is better to say no. Whatever you do in life, do it for the right reasons. If at all you are answerable to anyone in this world, it is only to your own self. Saying no is all about respecting your own self, having your own self-worth, and not giving in to fear. It could be fear of looking bad in front of the people you are with, or maybe fear of not being accepted in your peer group. You simply need to take a call.
When you meet the right girl in your life, before making a commitment, make sure you love her for the right reasons. Accept and love her for who she is, and not for who you would like her to be. Can you assure her that you will provide her all that would keep the smile on her face intact? And if you do that, there is no doubt in my mind she would also do the same with you. Let there be not even a single aspect of your life that she is not aware of. It is really important that she gets to know everything about you from you, the best and the worst, and not from someone else. Exactly like when you were growing up, I always told you whatever you do knowingly or unknowingly, I should always hear it from you, and not hear, or overhear it from anyone else.
I know that the seeds of humanity, truth, love and compassion have been genuinely, carefully and deeply planted in him, or may I say implanted in him, during his formative years. I do not have to worry about what kind of person he turns out to be. He may make his own mistakes, like we all do. At most, I may sometimes guide him when he asks for it. That is all that my role is going to be. Can I spare him my judgments?
I trust those seeds will soon be sprouting, and gradually grow up into full- fledged trees. Not because those were the best seeds in the world, nor because those seeds were planted by me, but simply and truly because those were the seeds of truth, of love, compassion, and our reality just the way it was. They would obviously grow into trees of reality.
If you think this whole journey has been easy and smooth sailing, well it certainly has not been. It has indeed been a real whopping roller-coaster ride for both of us. We were screaming when the ride was going up, and screaming as much when the ride was going down. But the enjoyable part has been that we were taking the ride together. We were growing together, learning together, failing together, succeeding together, screaming together, falling together, laughing together, holidaying together…. We were taking each other’s support, while giving support to each other.
I had my own humongous fears and insecurities to deal with all the time. And life was throwing in its own varied array of challenges at me, and oh boy, what a variety of challenges. Often I would be in a dilemma, not knowing which is the right way in that particular situation? All I did was shared the feeling with him. And somewhere in those conversations of ours, the solutions would just reveal themselves. Obviously we had our own share of anxious moments, but we had great fun as well.
Today as I look back, I realize that it has been as much my own learning, as was his. May be even more of my learning than his.
So, all you parents out there, here is wishing you a very Happy Parenting, Happy Learning. Just go all out and enjoy the journey together, because that journey is the life.
They say life does not give you a second chance. Grab as much joy and fun from it as you can. Live and love every moment of it. And most important is the fact that every parent has the potential to be a great wonderful and most lovable, adorable parent.
So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and explore the potential to its fullest.
Happy Roller-coaster rides together…….