Our guest contributor, Neelakshi Chaturvedi, writes about how her life changed after her only child got married.
It is still early to speak about this new phase of my life. It has hardly been a year since our only child, our daughter, moved to her new life.
I still can’t believe that she has actually transitioned into her new world, and now she will come to us only a few times a year…like a migratory bird!
Of course, the difference now is that I’m not around her physically. Instead, my heart and mind keep following her now more than ever!
I always find myself worried and anxious about how she might be managing things at her new home. Things she never did before, responsibilities big and small. I wonder whether she is taking good care of her new family’s wellbeing. And if she is cared for. A hundred other thoughts keep my mind occupied!
Yet, I can’t say I miss her the way normally any mother does.
I’m pretty practical and strong emotionally, thanks to my upbringing. My parents raised us in a way which made me not only emotionally pragmatic but also spiritually and philosophically fine-tuned. So, it isn’t wrong to say that I was always quite ready for the time when our little birdie would leave the nest to make one of her own!
Few may believe that I hardly shed any tear when our daughter left for her new world. Since the day she got engaged till now, none of the occasions or moments which generally have the power to move the heart of a mother have made me as much as shed a tear.
On the contrary, I am the one who is always ecstatic about new developments! I always feel joy, pride, and thrill in watching her grow and learn in a hundred ways. Perhaps because a part of me is also growing along her through all her experiences.
Perhaps I’m so busy living with her, keeping her tucked close in my heart, that I simply don’t get much time to realise if my life has changed!
But that doesn’t mean I don’t miss all other things about parenting her. Like the times when I feel that now there is no one to make me yell. That, there’s no one to scatter her books, shoes, and sweater all around.
No more do I have to panic about morning alarms, nor cooking on time. Suddenly, all those whys when’s where and hows have disappeared from life, and now there is no one to help me in the itsy bitsy chores too. Now when I’m out, there isn’t anyone to bank upon to look after my husband, the house, and the pets.
Now that it’s just me, there’s no one to keep me updated about music, movies, all the happening places in the city, or to drag me shopping or eating out. No one keeps me informed about the current buzz of the outer world anymore. I no longer have the liberty to sit and snack as she prepares a cup of tea for us to sip over our gossips.
And did I mention my books? Oh! The books…often she used to read them before I could start. And then, deliberately, she would narrate the ending excitedly! All the while I would threaten to unleash my “mom wrath” upon her, but she laughed, thereby puncturing my interest and leaving me terribly irritated!
Overnight, all of it has changed and now my home stares back at me stoically. My life’s pace has changed drastically, but I’m still not able to decide whether I’m relaxed and at peace now, or lonely.
I feel like I was spinning with her all through these years since the day she was born; at every age and step, I was living life with her. And now that I’m suddenly left with my self, I can’t say if this is liberty.
What I can say is that life feels different in so many inexplicable ways. I can hear the silence enveloping our house and my insides. Yet, my husband and I feel eternally at peace to see our daughter embrace her new life so gracefully!
We are nature lovers and have always admired the way birds and animals love and care about their offsprings, just like us humans. And yet, once their kids grow enough, they let them go so easily, and so beautifully detach themselves from the job the Almighty God has given them.
There are no expectations, sense of ownership, or pressures. That is what I consider as pure, unconditional love! A kind of love that we humans need to learn from animals.
My mulling is a result of now having enough time for introspect. And this introspection has made me believe that the river of my life has become deeper and calmer, blissfully waiting for my lovely bird to come home again as often as possible, while I try to make peace with this newfound calm in my world.