Gopika Kapoor, the author of well known books likeÂ Spiritual Parenting: Wisdom (and Wit) for Raising your Child in a Stress-free and Spiritual Environment, asks all the mommies to spend their time doing activities that they enjoy rather their following certain norms that restrict them to do so.
It’s that time of year when a hoard of 17-20 year olds leave the warmth of India and their families and head back to their wintry campuses across America and Europe. Armed with enough theplas, kachoris, Mummyâ€™s aam ka pickle and freeze-dried roties to feed an army, they leave behind parents, grandparents and siblings, who are bereft for a day, and then get on with school, work, kitty parties, satsangs and the other minutiae that make up their lives.
Compare this to when my daughter went to camp for the first time: I sobbed in the shower the night before, waited eagerly for the three days to end, and when she returned and had all the dirt and grime scrubbed out of her, slept with her in my arms like I would never let her go. It’s been three camps since the first one, and although I don’t sob in the shower any more, I do find myself thinking every time, â€˜How will I manage when I have to let her go?â€™
This is odd coming from me: I have been studying Vedanta for almost 10 years, I’ve written an entire chapter on detachment in my book Spiritual Parenting. Yet, when it happened to me, I could recall Swami Chinmayanandaâ€™s words when told by a rather pompous man that he had been through the Bhagwad Gita five times: â€œBut has it gone through you?â€_x009d_
Knowledge alone is of no use, I realised; only when it is paired with experience does it get through to us. And nowhere is the knowledge of detachment tested as much as it is when you are a parent.
From the time they pop out of our bodies, parenting is a continuous lesson in letting go. But letting go is not all bad.
When we let go as parents, we are giving our children room to grow, to explore, to figure out who they want to be. We are giving them opportunities to find their own experiences and tell their own stories. We are arming them with our values and beliefs and knowledge and sending them out to figure things out for themselves.
So even if it is hard as a parent to let go of your child, it is so worth it when they come back full of things to share and takes to tell. Like my daughter did. She had returned from a jungle safari in Rajasthan and was brimming with tales Â of the jungle and the wildlife in it. After all her stories had been exhausted, she said â€œMama, I missed you, but I had so much funâ€_x009d_ and she already her arms to indicate just how much.
I smiled, and in my smile was a tinge of sadness. She has so many places to go and so many things to see, most of them without her Mama in tow. Today itâ€™s a three-day school trip, tomorrow it’ll be college, and then who knows where! But that’s what growing up and becoming a parent is about. So to quote my favourite Dr. Suess, off you go my girl, â€˜today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. Soâ€¦ get on your way!â€™
Image Source:Â pivacek.blog.sme.sk