Tag Archives: mothers

Of growing up, growing old and letting go

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Of growing up, growing old and letting go

Of growing up, growing old and letting go…..

I have no excuses for not having written for such a long time. 3 years to be precise and I can’t even blame writer’s block since I am hardly a writer 🙂 But as I read what I have written previously and I can see that it literally seems like a different lifetime. I still feel very passionately about many things and those things have changed as I have moved through the various phases of my life. I write when I have something to say, something I feel so strongly about, but I just can’t seem to get it out through the spoken word. My head has millions of thoughts that are going through and so writing to me has been about getting those thoughts out of my system – what I can’t say out loud and yet my written words speak so loudly on my behalf.

Of late and ever so often I have been thinking about what my life is all about and what the meaning of my life is. I guess when you hit your 40s you do start to question what you want from your life – after all I am perhaps in the second innings and I want to know what I have to show for it. So much is the conundrum in my head that I even named my Instagram handle (@still_soul_searching), simply putting it my soul searching state of mind. It’s the search for the peace of my soul and the passion to drive my inner being perhaps

While the 40s may have brought out the more confident me, a man who perhaps now realises that you only live once and so Carpe diem, my friends. I now speak my mind and clearly stand up for what is right, no matter the consequences. After all, I want to sleep well at night knowing that I did the right thing. But my life hasn’t got any simpler, and actually does it ever? On the one hand, your children get older and need you less and less and on the other hand, your parents grow older and perhaps need you more and more. Such is the irony of life and makes you wonder how you can be the best parent and also the best son. All the while ensuring that your spouse does not get left behind as you try and juggle what you need to do for those who may need you the most.

We recently celebrated my daughter’s 11th birthday and the more I see her, the more I realise that my little girl isn’t so little anymore. She’s blossoming into a fine young lady with a mind and a life of her own. Not sure where that leaves her old man really !!! But I always knew this would happen. We always wanted for her to be a strong person and making choices and then living through them as well. Even though, sometimes those choices may not be what you may have expected or even not be you. Perhaps one of the greatest joys and also the greatest pain of being a parent is when you can give your children the ability to make their own decisions and in the process, you are not in the final decision that they make. I hope the choices she makes now make her life more wonderful and fulfilling and include everyone around her who are important to her. I cannot make her choose what should be important to her and I can only guide her towards that. But the decision must be her own and I hope she will always remember me as the father who may have guided her but always let her choose. As the father who never forced his views on her – when many a time he may have wanted to scream and tell her to choose him!!!!! I believe in a higher power and I believe in karma and so I believe that it will all come back to us in this lifetime itself. So do your best and don’t hope for the rest. Perhaps it is now the time to let go. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t hurt when we were not her choice but then I put myself in her shoes and go back 25 years or more and think of exactly the choices I made when I was a kid – only now the roles were reversed and I was facing those choices, as perhaps my parents would have done. It’s funny how life comes through a full circle.

In the process, I have become more aware of my parents and their needs, after all they aren’t spring chickens anymore 🙂 They may have too much self-respect to say out loud that they need me – not financially but more emotionally. For me to be there regularly when they want so speak their minds or just hear someone speak theirs. But growing old brings with it, its share of challenges and requirements – both health and well-being and it’s funny how we now have names and explanations for all kinds of medical conditions that we just thought of as symptoms of ‘old age’ when we were growing up. Being forgetful was just what grandparents did at their age when we were kids but now we have all fancy names for such medical conditions. I think I liked it better when life was simpler. When I was the younger one and could look upto someone to guide me through all the tough decisions in life, when I was not the mature one, when I was not the person who everyone looked upto to decide what should be done. When I saw my parents as the guides and not as the ones that needed to be guided. Nowadays I look at my mother and I see an innocent child, a child who gets joys at the smallest of things and who can get upset also at the smallest of things. But just like a child, it is soon forgotten from her memory and she goes back to being the most lovable person I have ever met. As Carl W Buehner has rightly said They may forget what you said — but they will never forget how you made them feel. Same is with my mother and makes me realise how little it takes to make her happy and while she may not remember what I said, she will never forget how I made her feel. The loving hugs, when I paint her nails or her worries when I am unwell. But I am not her and I don’t completely know how to handle it all the time – I do get confused and do let off steam but it doesn’t get us anywhere. I know she never did that when I was a child and she would patiently make sure that she taught me the right thing, without ever making me feel small. Perhaps I have a long way to go in being a better parent or just a better adult when I connect with my mother and maybe with a lot of others as well. So life is tough and yet life is simple.

I had met a professional once who had very wisely told me that the 40s are the perhaps the most trying times of our lives – on the one hand, our children don’t need us as much and on the other hand our parents start needing us more. It’s how you balance the disappointment of the former with the responsibility of the latter that makes us better adults and more caring and responsible human beings.

I guess in this entire process, I have perhaps grown up a little. Still stumbling my way through managing disappointments in my life, to accepting the choices that my daughter makes to trying to be a better son and sometimes a better parents to my parents. I have been lucky to have a partner who has always been way more mature than her years and someone who will knock some sense into me one way or the other. I guess, somewhere I my heart I know, that with her, I can still be a carefree child sometimes, when it gets too much and she will be there, solid as a rock to pull me through. No one said life would get easier as you went along and maybe I will look back one day to all that life has had to offer and I will smile and remember that I made someone smile after all ‘SOMEDAY YOU WILL JUST BE A MEMORY TO SOMEONE. MAKE SURE YOU ARE A GOOD ONE’.

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Mums, kids and the other parent

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 As I sit down to write this piece, off the bat, I visualize two very distinct reactions 1) from the few guys that do read this – “dude, stop acting like a chick” and 2) from more mature people – “this boy still needs to grow up and understand life”.  Well, what the heck, it’s my blog and I write what I want.

So a small context to the entire piece – I am a divorced man on the wrong side of 30 with a 4 year old daughter, who lives with me on the weekends and vacations.  It appears that I suffer from an uncommon ailment called “insecurity” of “the concept”.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a good looking, confident and very modest man 🙂  but I just can’t seem to understand the entire society’s obsession with maa kya pyaar (a mother’s love)  when it comes to a child.  So the title of this piece and “The concept”.

Ever since I can remember – for the male species and in the last few years for me as an individual member of this species, it has been engrained into our psyche that we are the lesser parent.  Talk about the weaker sex!!!!!!  So we may be the most accomplished, confident men but when it comes to a child (no less our child)….dudes….you are never in the race of being a model parent.  It’s like you’re preparing to run the marathon and Usain Bolt has already won the sprint gold…..

Having never been at the receiving end of any discrimination I got a first real taste of this discrimination (not sure what else to call it) when my ex-wife (including her large family) would continually tell me that no matter what I did I would never understand the depth of a mother’s love for her child.  So don’t get me wrong, my ex is a good person and a fantastic mother, but it’s not really my fault that I did not carry our daughter for nine months, or give birth to her…hell knows, I guess, if it was biologically possible…I might have done it…. (note to self – google up the man who recently had a baby before making such claims in future).  Does that make me any lesser a parent that my daughter’s mother? NO SIR.

So when we do have these discussions, which re quite animated after a few drinks, informed people, then quote studies and tell me how it has been proven that both parents are equally important in nurturing a child. But (and there’s a big one here), the same people will not bat an eyelid and quote the dreaded words “but she’s the mother you know, understand that” at the first sign of my attempting to assert fatherly dominance in my daughter’s life.

This entire concept was further beaten into me during the entire legal process of the divorce. Starting from well-wishers and finally my lawyer nailing the coffin and telling me that the law would also favour the mother unless proven otherwise.  It’s like being guilty until proven innocent!!!!! Sure, my work schedule is tougher than my ex (like a lot of men), but would the courts even consider custody to the father if the professional roles were reversed… Am not a legal eagle but I think I know the answer there.

So this whole “concept” has been irritating me for a while now and by the time I have reached here, the few readers that I have, have already logged off at the nonsensical rambling of a lunatic.  But I shall continue for the pleasure of the few that persist 🙂  So what did I do next….like any reasonable tech savvy person, googled up to see if there was some godforsaken formula or something where I could input some random data and see a result that said — dude, you are actually more important than your ex – to your daughter.  Alas (for my poor male brethren out there) there was no such algorithm. Can you believe that?

And that really brought me to the deeper question – WHY AM I COMPETING FOR THE LOVE OF MY CHILD?????? That little mite has so much love to give everyone that there is enough to go around and some……

Even though I do my best to ignore the obvious, realization dawns and I finally figure out that in a way, I am a still bitter about my divorce and maybe the pangs of guilt still exist that I could not make it work.  I have always been good at anything I did, (I did mention I am very modest) and the crumbling of the marriage was the first real sign of failure in my life and maybe a big bruise to my large but fragile ego.  I somehow needed to prove to myself that I was the better parent and that my exs decision to end the marriage (there’s goes one more secret down the drain) was not the best decision for any one of us….So this entire aversion to “the concept” appears really to be an effort on my part to consciously massage my ego.  At this point, the handful of men still reading this are like “dude you just lost your right to be invited to a boys night out and the next thing you’ll tell us that Titanic is your favourite movie”….hmmmm…. never really thought of that but no….it’s just to sugary for me….. More such realizations and I could be an enlightened one very soon….

Also, it never occurred to me to check with my sisters what their views were and how was their relationship with our father.  I know, there are some things that a daughter will always confide in her mother – her first crush, her first kiss or even her boyfriend but I just wish that would be me.  In my case, it would be even more unlikely since I have been convinced since her birth that I need to buy a shotgun the day my daughter hits her teens.  I was once a young man and I know :).

So this really has nothing to do with me competing with my ex but just the love I feel for my child. Is that any less? Then why is it always beaten down on me that “she’s the mother, you have to understand”.  To top it all off, during one of my random net surfing episodes I read an article (another proven study, mind you) that confirms that boys lose more in the absence of a father figure and not girls….WOO HOO… way to go on building the confidence, buddy!!!!! Somehow such ‘empirical pieces of evidence’ have a way of finding their way to me.  Reminds me of one of the episodes of THE Simpons – where Homer ends up seeing donuts everywhere…while I do love the show, I think my parenting skills are by far better than that of Homer’s…..

So where does that really leave me now…..All I can say is that I have a great relationship with my daughter but where the relationship would be 10 years down the line is potentially all up to me and the effort I make…. Hopefully at that point in time my insecurity would have gone (to some extent) and I would grab the love she doles out with both my hands. Maybe I will even have the courage to show her this piece and watch her expression as she reads it…. What she will say I don’t know but I know what I want her to say…..

Till then I just need to reconcile to the fact that ‘the concept’ will most likely always exist and there’s not really much that one can do to fight it……kids have so much to give and we waste the time trying to fit them into our moulds and make them our pretty little trophies to brag about….

So LADIES and GENTLEMEN (hopefully atleast one man has survived through this long, winding note), welcome to the ramblings of a confused man and many more to come.

In the words of the great poets of the modern era – JOURNEY – Don’t stop believing, hold onto that feeling, streetlight people……