Under the glare of lamps in an almost deserted parking lot, our family of five stood in the night breeze, savoring the chill and, watching a beautiful fireworks show. The fireworks capped a lovely day spent shopping for back to school clothes, bags and supplies. As our older children picked out outfits, Saathi and I watched with something akin to awe. They expertly navigated aisles of clothing picking an oversized shirt here, a jean there and a ribbed tank top elsewhere. They seemed like they knew what they were doing and looked pleased as we rang up purchases and walked out with heavy bags in hand.
The youngest and I strolled in the kids section looking for graphic tees and comfy pants. I was happy for the agency I had knowing these years were short and I would in the not distant future be relegated to just paying for purchases. Once we were back home, I tried to nap, exhausted by the mall outing. The screams of joy and excitement from the twins’ rooms made sleep impossible. So instead, I listened as my daughters talked about clothes and school.
In the years following the advent of parenthood, I ached for time to fly, for me to see the kind of people my children will morph into and what I saw yesterday made me happy. In the excited teens, I caught glimpses of the adults they one day will be. In the evening, as my older ones lounged with phones in their hand, the youngest and I walked around our neighborhood. She reached for my hand as we chatted and walked.
“Amma, when I am ready for college, I want to be near home. I don’t want to go far away…”
A little probing showed me how much our home is a sanctuary of sorts for the child. My heart felt lighter after the heaviness that stemmed from watching the older ones move away in ways that are intangible.
This whole parenting journey has been a ride. I know I still have a ways to go but at this random mid-way point, I feel like I have a sense for what the rest of the journey could look like. A whole lot of holding on and a lot more letting go. The pangs that come from the letting go are overridden by the joys in seeing them fly.