Motherhood throws surprises at every turn. A friend ripened in experience, once told me jokingly, “motherhood is a journey of never ending discoveries.”
Nowadays are times when I couldn’t agree more.
It’s a week since the night my only child turned and waved to me before the airport doors slid shut. He shot one last glance at me, forcing his pursed lips to smile. I saw he was battling with an inexplicable emotion. I craned my neck to watch through misty eyes as he got sucked into the whirlpool of travellers. All alone, he got done with each step of the airport processes, and with each step he moved farther from me.
I had six months to get ready for this moment. I thought I would do well. But nothing readies you for the sorrow of parting. The grit and determination I had built block upon block crumbled like a pile of ash as held me in a tight embrace and whispered in my ear, “take care Mom”.
From the time the letter announcing his admission into his dream institute arrived to the frenzied days of making packing lists and shopping trips, my emotions turned turbulent. There were enough sessions of laughter, irritation, and of course the unannounced downpour of tears. During these months I tried being a stay-at-home-mom for a while, but to everyone’s chagrin I failed miserably to keep ‘smother’ at bay from ‘mother’.
When hubby and I returned home from the airport in the wee hours, a gush of vacuum gripped my core. I could feel hubby too falter in his step. We exchanged glances and reassuring smiles and pretended to get busy about preparing to sleep.
We lay in bed staring up at the ceiling. He broke the silence first. “It’s going to be alright,” he said almost to himself.
“It’s going to be alright, but it will never be the same again,” I replied softly.
And that’s the essence of it all.
We will be alright. Eventually we will get occupied in the business of living. But, nothing will be the same again. And, it is this that the heart laments.
The age-old resistance to change was rearing its ugly head again. Suddenly my boy is on his own to make a life for himself. It’s the starting of a new phase. The old ways will give way to new. No more of those evenings of chatter and banter. No more bickering over late nights…no more this…no more that.
His room is too tidy for comfort. I long to see the mess on his table and clothes piling up on his study chair. My eyes long to see him sprawled on his bed, his eyes devouring a book. I long for those weekend afternoons when we would remain at the table long after the lunch plates had dried, as he regaled us with his office stories.
Memories are God’s gift. And like the powers that be, they are omnipresent.
In the last week I made a pact with myself. While I would allow myself to fondly recall the growing up years of my boy, I shall not lament. The sadder I will be, the worse he would feel, I chide myself. Instead I envelope myself in the pride of being a mother to a young man who has set afoot on a journey of self-discovery.
In a note to me before he left, my son wished for me to be happy and to lead the life I want. He wished for me to excel in my career and spend time pursuing my passion. He wished that his father and I would spend time together doing the things we love doing. “Without guilt”, he had added. This is my mission. Children are constantly beseeched to make their parents proud. As a parent, I want to return the favour. I want to continue to lead a life of productivity and positivity. I want to be able to tick off the items on my bucket list. I want to continue doing the things that make me happy. I want to lead by example so that when technology brings the chatter and banter back every evening, I want my son to feel the excitement in my life, just as I feel the excitement in his.
I want my son to know that it’s ok to be homesick at times. I want him to know that he can let his guard down every once in a while and tell me that he misses me, and I will not melt into a pool of tears and book a seat on the next flight. If I want to make it easy for him, I have to be happy.
I am going to show him how he and I can be truly happy, so what if we are under a different sky.