THE SERENITY OF KNOWING WE DID THE BEST
My dear friend Vinisha, who lives in America, wrote to me in response to my last Post – ‘A PROMISE ON EIGHTEENTH BIRTHDAY’.
I love the feelings expressed by Vinisha, as a mother of two young boys on turning 18. In fact, the feelings are so relatable… I think, Vinisha’s feelings echo the feelings of most parents around us…
The joy and pride - and that parental anxiety - of seeing our little-babies grow right in front of our eyes… into tall, handsome, bright young men and women… into adulthood… and, there they are… all ready to be on their own…
The privilege of witnessing, with mixed feelings, that great circle of life…
Experiencing that great act of loving, caring, giving, and empowering…. and then letting go… with gladness and quiet pride…
Heeding to the great inner prompting, that we may not have been the perfect parents, but we have done the best we could do… and our young-ones know they are loved… and realizing that, THAT is the biggest gift we can ever give them as parents!
Yes, I loved Vinisha’s response and I am delighted to share it with my readers, here, in this Post...
Your post on turning 18 made me reflect on my own feelings on being a mom whose sons turn 18…
My oldest turned 18 this August and my baby boy will be 18 next year in December. I am realizing that I am starting on a new journey of my role changing from 24 hour parenting to "parenting as needed". I’m still processing our son’s college drop off; I knew this separation was coming, but I, along with many other mothers, have ambivalent feelings about it. I look at old albums and pictures..precious memories of my time with him, time before I had to let him go. I look through the recent pics , reflecting on his graduation picture – Class of 2016 with an adult size cap and gown, not the, “oh, so adorable” kindergarten graduation of years ago. I see the culmination of years of prayer, loads of laundry, endless chauffeuring to school, practices, games, play dates, sleepovers. I talk to my husband, showing him the same pictures and sharing my worries about our 16 and 18 year old, things that I seem to have less and less control over as they grow older, and wondering if could have done parenting differently. His response carries the conviction of truth. “We did the best we could. We weren’t perfect parents, but they both know they are loved and THAT is the biggest gift we can give them.”
So, I go back and look at the pictures again. Somehow, that grain of rice that were mere ultrasound pics grew into my 6’2” young men, despite my not so perfect parenting.
I am now watching my18 year old in college… I feel pride. I see a young man with the self-discipline to meet his own deadlines, setting his own schedules for school work and leisure. I see a young man, who despite keeping me at arm’s length when I pry, gives me hugs when I need them the most.
Perhaps this is the nature of motherhood: love, joy, and pride, tinged with regrets. I hope these regrets are tempered by the serenity of knowing I did the best I could. Quite frankly, that's the nature of any relationship, even how we process any guilt feelings when our parents age and the journey of losing them.
The parting lines made me silent:
”Perhaps this is the nature of motherhood: love, joy, and pride, tinged with regrets. I hope these regrets are tempered by the serenity of knowing I did the best I could. Quite frankly, that's the nature of any relationship, even how we process any guilt feelings when our parents age and the journey of losing them.”
Pic.: Usha Prasadh