Monday, June 2, 2008

What's wrong with this equation?

Just some wistful thoughts for you sons and daughters to think about. And also for you Mothers out there too.

When your children are young, you are their hero. Their faces light up when they see you. You can do no wrong. You are their world, their joy, their survival.

Then they get older, and comes the moment when they tolerate you with a smile. They still need you, but you begin to embarrass them. Your sheer existence bugs them.

And then comes the moment I’m in right now. My son can’t wait to leave home. He wants no Mother in his daily life…just a Mother out there – somewhere.

There’s something wrong with this equation. Our children are the beings we love most dearly in our lives. We cherish them, raise them, educate them and then at 18 – after all that loving, which will never stop on our part… we must let go of them, because they want nothing more to do with us!

The only consolation, of course, is that we all felt this way too. Ready to get away from our own Mothers and claim our lives. Ready to live without Mother watching.

It is our turn to let go. It comes with the territory. And if you let go properly, you become the Mother that your kids want to come home to. And after some time passes, you become the Mother who they enjoy being with, again.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri, in her new collection of stories “Unaccustomed Earth” writes:

"He remembered his children coming home from college, impatient with him and his wife, enamored of their newfound independence, always wanting to leave. It had tormented his wife and, though he never admitted it, had pained him as well. He couldn’t help thinking, on those occasions, how young they’d once been, how helpless in his nervous arms, needing him for their very survival, knowing no one else. He and his wife were their whole world. But eventually that need dissipated, dwindled to something amorphous, tenuous, something that threatened at times to snap… ...The entire enterprise of having a family, of putting children on this earth, as gratifying as it sometimes felt, was flawed from the start."

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