As a child, I loved hearing stories, and pestered my father to narrate me one every night. And like a darling, he obliged me. So that’s how I learnt about ShravanKumar – the good son, how Ganeshji got an elephant head, Alibaba and chaalis chor (forty thieves), the amusing pranks of Lord Krishna and many more. Back then no one told us, but we all wanted to be like Shravana or Lord Rama, the ever obedient and ideal sons. There were no stories about good daughters, except maybe Sita and Panchali who married the men their parents handpicked for them.
We have one child. A daughter. And for whatever reasons of ours, we plan to keep it the same way. So it is going to be only one child for us. Now, we sometimes wonder what will happen to us when we grow old and need someone to look after us. We cannot chain our daughter to us. She would want to explore the world and stay wherever her heart would take her. And she would do so with our blessings.
It’s not that that wouldn’t hurt us. But I am hoping the pain wouldn’t be too much. When she was little and I was breastfeeding her, I remember getting let-down reflex as soon as my newborn started crying. I couldn’t imagine letting her go out of my sight even for a moment. Gradually, she started school and I was OK with her not being around for 3-4 hours. Then, she joined the big school, and I got used to her absence for more than 8 hours. I have realized, with her growing, I have grown too. I don’t fret for her every minute of the day. I know she needs her space, and I need mine. And this mutual respect for space is what will help me the day when she leaves home forever.
As a mother, I would want her to be with me, always. But, I also know, as a mother, I can’t be selfish. That’s the first rule of being a parent – LET GO!! And, when the time comes, I will be ready to let her go! I am preparing myself to be the mother who doesn’t hold her child to ransom. She didn’t ask to be born, I wanted her. So I cannot hold that against her.
I will love her. FOREVER. She is born out of my body and carved out of my heart, and she will always carry a big piece of me. But, I can survive without her. And, she will survive and thrive without me. The world is her arena, and she would not get burdened with my expectations and my regrets. I would not want her to be my ShravanKumar, to carry me wherever she goes. And, that’s what I will tell her – beta, I don’t want you to be my ShravanKumar! Don’t be tied down to me! Live your life! You get it only once!