There’s a strange yet profound feeling of inexpressible joy when you spend time with your children…particularly now that they are grown and independant..flown the nest, adults with a mind and life of their own..adults with dreams and interests that do not stem from what you intended for them but rather from what their hearts and minds and destiny have steered them towards …consciously or unconsciously .
Years ago you were in the front seat clutching them to your bosom as they nestled to your warmth or squealed to be let go off..squirming off your lap to grab at the volume buttons on the dashboard or to grab your not-so-cool sunglasses off the bridge of your nose!
Alternatively, you were busy trying to stop them from having a go at each other in the back seat, wrestling them apart, distracting them with stories , smiling amusedly as the eldest one bullied the younger ones with her pretend-adult ,all-knowing tone of confidence in her endearing lilting voice!
Now the roles are reversed…the joy you feel at the first glimpse you have of them after a long long gap..an unendingly unfairly long gap…is inexplicable!! It just feels as if the sun has risen finally, the Gods are smiling down at you and your hearts beats faster, almost as if it’s trying to leap out from beneath the rib cage right into its rightful place in your baby’s bosom..And then you realise that hopefully it’s already there!!
That first hug and greeting warms you up like melting butter on hot crisp toast! The fragrant baby smell from when you held them close eons ago still lingers in your mind and the waft of these memories bring a smile and sigh to your lips!
The hug which gets over too too soon for us but embarrassingly long for them , makes way for a quick “Come on Come lets go” and you are promptly bundled into the back seat of the car as you watch your kids, now towering over you banter with each other saying” Oh God, she’s back again “!! ,while rolling their eyes in fake exasperation and deciding who was going to take the wheel.
An innocent query from them like “so what’s the plan, when do have to go back”? causes your already unsteady heartbeat to thump even harder while sinking into a crevasse as deep as the Grand Canyon for its too early to contemplate about the return..after all, you are still basking in the glory of having just feasted your starving eyes upon them.
The view from the back seat is endearing! These tiny little adults have moved on…they have a different lifestyle, a new group of friends at work and at play..they are way more savvy, cool, aggressive, worldlywise, beaten, triumphant, scarred, resurrected, open minded and hearted, lavish, conservative, proud, humble, resilient, soft and vulnerable, hard and impenetrable.
They may wear their heart on their sleeves yet fight to protect their emotions from a wayward unseen enemy..they struggle to handle all that comes to them on their plate while preserving the sanctity of their ways , thoughts and upbringing…clutching onto the things they consider worthy and desperately shrugging off that which they consider may weigh them down or hold them back!
They jostle with the music system and fight to control the playlist as diverse as their natures…they yell in exasperation when they don’t like one’s selection and quickly loudly belt out words in sync while doing a jig in the front seats when they finally agree on choice of song! One of them is beaten down when their suggestion is met with disdain while the other keeps playing DJ and dancing merrily.
All this one observes in amusement from one’s spectacular box office back seat, enjoying the bantering, trying to quip in with one’s half knowledge and being told to shut up in no minced words!
Those that we once taught are now our teachers, those that we once held by the hand and led, are now leading us, those that we once ticked off for misdemeanour are now scolding us for dinosaurian thought processes!
Little do they know that one is trying desperately to keep up, to understand, to change and make amends, to upgrade and uplift ourselves, to be cooler, to be more with it..yet we still need to be parents, we still need the instinct to protect and guide as far as we can. We need to be their friends too..feel the need to be needed and wanted amidst all the fast changing scenarios!! Above all ,we just need to be there..for them , with them!!
Amidst all this noise you get the feeling of being infused with life again, like you were just dealt out an intra venous concoction of mineral happiness , protein fortitude and amino resilience!! The grin on your lips is unstoppable! The heart does a fire dance in your chest and you thank God for aeroplanes that fly you to them!!
I guess that’s why we are parents.
Love us or leave us, that’s how we feel about you! We need you to understand us, fit us in, make time for each other in this way, whenever we are able!
We were 20th century paupers when they were little..we wish they become 22nd century royalty in status, ability and thoughts , with hearts of gold, toughness of mind and body , humility of soul!
“How do we tell you how much we love you for we are not wordsmiths! Peep into our hearts and you will be all-seeing”!!
Till then let’s just enjoy the madness of being around these crazy human beings!!