We dropped off our first born at his university yesterday. My first chick flew our nest. As I hugged him and said my goodbyes till his mid-term break, my throat was thick with unshed tears. I got into the car and could feel this tug on my heart. As we headed away from the campus, I realized that the tug I had felt was not a new sensation. It wasn’t an alien one, but on the contrary a familiar one. I had felt it many times before.
When I had left him in the care of a baby sitter when I first went back to work after his birth.
When I first put him into the bus,which would take him to nursery school on his own.
When I dropped him off for his first sleepover at my parents’.
When he crossed the road first time on his own with me standing to one side keeping a keen eye on him.
When he took an auto rickshaw to go to his friend’s house alone.
When he stayed out for an evening with his friends and returned home around mid-night.
Somewhere along all these years we both, my son and I have been unconsciously readying ourselves for this day. Testing his wings. And I know when my 12 year old reaches the day, when she too flies the nest, my heart will go through the same motions all over again. Today more than any other day my father’s words ring true. When my son was an infant he had told me in a very positive manner, ” Consider yourself to be your children’s caretaker and nurturer, not their owner. It will be easier to let them fly when the time comes.”
The lessons in letting go comes in different packages, but by far this is the toughest of them all. After all didn’t someone once say,” having a child is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”