Remember the ‘ring a ring of roses, pocket full of …’ the jingle to which we fluttered about in circles of mirth. Ah those merry memories of childhood!
Now here we are exclaiming with a sigh, ‘My child doesn’t study’ ‘My child is a difficult teen’ ‘My child doesn’t listen’ and the bafflement of being a parent continues. It’s quite an endeared torture! one that we want to have and don’t want to have in equal measure. It’s an absent presence in the household. While we barely have the time or strength to deal with anything in the aftermath of work pressure and other mundane stresses of living, we continue to sigh and suffer as anxious parents.
Just wondering now, was I a perfect child? Did I always show interest in studies? Did I always listen? Did I question authority in sheer defiance? Well as for me, I just somehow scraped through school. By the time I developed interest in any subject, I had already passed the stage of learning the basics. I gathered, I suppose, as I went along. Life and career eventually turned out equitable. At each step along the way there were hurdles, challenges and misgivings. They may have been excruciatingly painful while each lasted. Some became stepping stones and some gruesome recollections. When I look back, they made for some interesting sequences in the drama of my life. I have ample stories to tell. Ample to brag and ample skeletons hidden in the secret cupboard.
Could my parents have protected me any better? They were always concerned and tried everything they could beyond the best. Our household always had the gloomy all-encompassing presence of worry for me and my brother’s education, our future. The constant struggle was always evident. Both of us had our goodness and our rough edges too. Inspite of all the love and guidance, we made our mistakes and lived through our share of troubles.
Nature gives us children, but not the ability to make their mistakes for them. We can talk, share, discuss, warn and encourage and most of all listen and love. We can cherish their dreams, rather than ours embossed on theirs. We can express the surge of emotions and let them have the free space to live and share their inner lives with us. But they will still make their own mistakes and learn their own way. They are here to live their life.
It’s sheer torture to see them making mistakes, we think we can stop them from; to feel helpless as they won’t listen, to feel disregarded as they stampede over our ideologies; to incessantly fight a loosing battle; to be resilient in the face of emotional upheaval; to feel most needed and no longer needed all at once… as we become an absent presence in the lives of our very own bundles of joy.
All religious scriptures preach, ‘Let go’ in some form or another. But oh the bane of attachment! It’s easier said than done. And yet, as parents our anxiety is not what helps. Our equanimity does. In multiple ways and for a multitude of reasons, we do need to learn to let go. To love and to let them live.
Don’t we all fall down… and rise again in the ring of roses?