You must have seen those old cartoons – the ones in which a character runs off a cliff and keeps running? He doesnt fall and keeps going on until he looks down. And then he plummets to the ground screaming. That, people, is the perfect depiction of life in general, and parenting of grown children in particular.
One is told in school that as long as you get good grades, be polite, honest and true, you have it made in life. So one hunkers down, works hard, deals with boring subjects, doesnt kill fellow students or bash up idiosyncratic teachers. “Padhega likhega banega nawab, khelega, koodega, banega kharab” was what we were brought up to believe. So one played by the rules, studied hard, got good jobs…. and thought ahh now we are in control – - but are we? Providence does have a corny sense of humour and just when everything is going absolutely right, Providence throws a googly. And like the cartoon network character – one runs off the cliff screaming AAAAAIIIIIIEEEEEEE
Parenting is also somewhat like this. There I was, running along on air for all these years, thinking that, so long as I raised those kids “right,” I was big momma, in control. And then, after all that time of living with this nice cozy illusion, mine became teenagers and with all the sassiness of teenagedom, they shook the stuffing out of me. I started realizing that I’d been living a lie and there are no guarantees. Not their safety, not my sanity, nothing is really under my control (except maybe the car keys, but I had to keep hiding them in newer places all the time. And then I kept forgetting the latest new place, and they would obligingly fish them keys out and give ‘em to me.) Gaaaah!!!
Now I have three young adults at home, and I normally don’t even know what time of day or night it is, since they are in and out all the time. I have started feeling kind of disoriented. They keep wierd hours. Yesterday they decided that they would have dinner at home with me. I have got so used to them picking a bite on their way in or out of home, that I have tailored all our meals into take-aways. You know – like rolls of roti and sabzi or Idli+chutney. Yesterday was full house, I was mother hen and all my chicks were around me. Such total control. We had a sumptious regular dinner, and after that, Kid#1 and wifey went out for a movie, Kid#2′s friends came over and he left with them. Ah well – that is routine now with a half-way empty nest.
I wonder what life brings next. I was reminded of the cartoon network analogy. My big question is, when do we stop screaming AAAAIIIIIEEEEEEE ?