There is nothing as nostalgic, yet rewarding, as flipping through the pages of an old album that transports you in time and place. Old pictures have a unique flavor that transfixes you in frozen bits in time. Now and then, I sift through the synopsis of special moments of our lives captured by our old fashioned camera, long before smart phones invaded our safeguarded lives. And tucked most safely among our precious collection are pictures of our 2 daughters in all stages. Some just tug at your heartstrings, others elicit a spontaneous giggle or two and quite a few others leave you simply stupefied. Most importantly, I am reminded and reinforced to embrace each passing moment as I realize how time flew from their toddler years to young adulthood. Thanks to unnumbered nights of bed time stories, sweet lil’ rendezvous amidst diaper changes, endless summer days lazing in the pool and the park, nice long walks among talks with them in strollers, unforgettable tantrums and reprimands, for having made the bonds stronger than feebler.
With each passing year, my ubiquitous presence around them had slowly started to vanish. Bed-time stories would become a thing of the past, the amount of home work help needed had started to wean, there was almost no assistance required in everyday chores, and to top it all, my views and opinions started to be vehemently questioned . I bit my lip and held back tears as I had no choice but to witness this transformation. It is truly an art for a parent to accept the independence of their off-springs with the same flair that they proudly ruled the world of these once helpless and hapless beings. I had started to question the purpose and worth of my role as a mother, except, I knew to avert damage and change gears to ensure a smooth ride together. It helps to have a reminder to our parent selves to steer the course so we don’t lose our own in unexpected twists and turns.
Over the period of time, I painfully taught myself attachment in detachment, reminded myself to be more receptive and less defensive, to be a friend and a guardian to my kids and to use these roles with discretion. I smile at the gentle disapproval of my teenager on matters of disagreement just as I used to find joy in the warmth of her hugs and kisses as a toddler. Just like I had cheered their tiny strides attempting to catch up with my long ones, I am now cheered to catch up to their faster jogging pace. The camaraderie, friendship and sisterhood received is priceless, in return for trying to understand their lives, their struggles and aspirations as opposed to thrusting my ideas and dreams on them. My off-springs taught me to strive to be more liberal than narrow-minded, a listener(still working on this!) than a preacher, less judgemental and more forgiving, less rigid and more flexible. Undoubtedly, there are qualities that individuals can teach themselves to acquire at any point in their lives, only if they are willing to. I have learned more from my children than I ever taught them. It is time for role reversal and it is unquestionably going to stay. The driver and passenger have exchanged seats, literally and metaphorically. Buckle up and enjoy the ride!
In the battlefield of parenting, there are no winners or losers. If we win, we win together. If we lose, both sides lose.