Dads Heartstrings are being pulled too!

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I have written a lot about  moms, empty nests, situations evoking motherly emotions , kids flying away etc etc…but some how in my blogs moms have always been the heroes of the plot. Though I use the term parents and say a lot of things considering us …both mothers and fathers, but the word dad hasn’t had its due share in my writings.

So today, I am dedicating this piece to  DADS ……their feelings and their fatherly emotions. When our children are ready to embark on their individual journeys away from us readying to leave for college or work or after marriage …..everybody in the house who stays behind is affected. Moms seem to be most devastated because they have the privilege of having a rock in their husbands, a ever ready shoulder to cry on. We. mothers sometimes get so wrapped up in our  own emotions that we forget to notice the parallel crisis our kids dad’s are going through.

Fathers have it tough too, it is never easy for them to send off the apples of their eyes, a part of their hearts away in the big bad world. But they handle it in their own beautiful way by keeping their spouses and their kids emotional needs first. They take charge of making the transition easier by joking and making each remaining day before the send off ….fun.  They talk about good things instead of talking of how much they’ll miss their babies. Their logical heads accept quickly and I guess that same head keeps telling them how good this is going to be for their children. …to live independently ….to be their individual selves….taking their own decisions . They talk about the family getting a chance to travel more to drop them …to go meet them in their new worlds…to meet them halfway for a holiday away from their new homes and old. They don’t let their emotions interfere in working at making the arrangements for travel for send offs, bring back flight bookings, housing arrangements, financing decisions. Moms do these pretty well as well but honestly it is always I feel with more drama and loads of emotions running wild. Not that the children don’t need to hear the music of their mothers hearts …but they also need the practicality and “let’s move on and do better than wasting time on crying attitude” of their fathers. And that’s awesome because fathers are fathers. They have their eyes full of tears and hearts full of same anxieties.of their kids stepping out from their comfort zones…… but they don’t talk it out and rarely express their feelings.  Children will always be tugging at their heartstrings too but they cope amazingly well ……by fast forwarding their minds to the holidays when kids would be back home …..and wire their minds to keep their good memories alive and look forward to making more with them.

Cheers to all the dads out there who are either sending off their children this fall and to all those who bid them goodbye earlier ….to either go to college or work or marry or live elsewhere.Our children will be living in our hearts permanently and though they came into this world through us …they are not ours to keep. And dads seem to know and accept this universal fact better than us Moms.

Happiness Formula, its a Sure Shot!

All the Happiness Formulas …written in books, spoken by happiness gurus, known to happy people… have the same story to tell… A story of happiness that is up to people to write for themselves …that has a formula that is sure shot. A story that starts with the word “Gratitude” and also ends with the same word “Gratitude”. It seems like a simple formula, yet many parents and people struggle to see the need of this simplicity in their lives.

We parents have a whole list of life lessons for our children…the most important one I hope is teaching them to have a feeling of gratitude in their hearts forever. Teaching them to be thankful for the wonderful life they have been given, for feeling the wind on their faces, for being able to see the new leaves sprouting, butterflies and birds fluttering around and life and laughter happening all around.  And when things aren’t looking great for them let’s help by giving our children hope ……….reminding them of their babyhood times, how to be able to walk was like the biggest victory  of their lives, how they danced in the rain, how spotting lady bugs and the grasshoppers in the grass made them ecstatic with joy. Telling stories of their play school days, their baby talk , their childhood friends, things that made them laugh, the jokes they told, the family travels, stories of celebrations, also of the tough and down times.

Let’s Teach our kids to keep counting their blessings and feeling & expressing Gratitude. Gratitude for the abundance, the enough’s in their lives and also for things lacking as these give them a chance to better their versions of themselves. Gratitude also for the presence of the amazing people they have in their lives as friends, family, their teachers, their mentors who have helped them in their journeys……for the circumstances that have been in their favour and also the trials and tribulations they got in their share…..reminding them often that it’s these ups and downs that is helping our kids build resilience and beautiful purposeful lives.

We wake up everyday as two thankful parents of our amazing kids. Life has been kind and even if it has been trying at difficult times …we have kept our feeling of gratitude alive for all the blessings we have been bestowed with. Bad times came too…and we survived .. and all it took was a little gratitude. For our family like many others this is the happiness formula that has worked wonders …..and ….. this is why feeling and expressing gratitude will always remain the number one life lesson learnt for us and hopefully our children!

Having a house full of love, walls adorned with pictures of good times spent with loved ones and hearts full of Gratitude is our Happiness Formula Story ..what’s yours?

Much Gratitude for stopping here on my blog site and reading what a parent’s heart is talking about today!

 

Go Shine On New Generation!

These are good times ..better than the ones we lived in. We went to college with a minimum understanding of how the world works….beyond the doctors , engineers, architects, lawyers , teachers and maybe ..some relatively new fields, we didn’t care much of other professions that made the world go around …..we didn’t notice , we didn’t bother. We were oblivious as our sphere of exposure was limited and so were the opportunities. We dreamed too but not of becoming an artist, an aeronautical or an automotive engineer, a make up artist, a chef, a graphic designer, an advertiser, an archeologist, stocks expert, transport designer etc etc ….our brains could not dream of realms which we knew little about. So many of us lived in our cacoon and did what came easy ….most of us made choices based on our 12th score, some based on the popular opinion and some did what everyone else did ….took the safe options. Experimentation  with our careers and source of livelihood for the rest of our lives …wasn’t the smartest thing to do in our times.

And that’s why I feel these are good times, better than ours….and wish our kids can see it like that. What is it they don’t have in their favour….parents who let them be….huge amounts of confidence, the choice to do whatever they want, be whoever they want to be, availability of finances, the Internet to tell them what they want to know from experiences of others, chances of internships …to see how the world works before they choose a particular career path, a chance at failing and taking a different course of action …or a different field…without any social stigma.

Last few months have been interesting, it was heartening to see my daughter and her friends focusing all their energies towards choosing their career paths and getting into various colleges. All completely involved in putting the cornerstones of success painstakingly in order….for their future lives. What they have chosen to do with the next 4-5 years of their lives is the most interesting mix of things. They are aspiring to be criminal psychologists, fashion designers, visual communicators, graphic designers, coporate lawyers, politicians,international relationship managers,product designers, sports psychologists, professional players, pilots, musicians, professional singers, aeronautical engineers etc etc. And some are using the option of taking time to decide what they want to do with their lives….Whatever they’ll do in future ….but they seem to be in the driving seats of their own lives …they all want to go places…they are a generation of empowered young boys and girls who are confident and well informed and are seekers and are initiators……That’s such a change from where we came from and we did well …so naturally they will do better ..because they are much better equipped and much more ambitious than us.

Loads of blessings from our generation to the new generation. You are most the privileged and capable generation than all the ones which have gone by and have everything that you need to find your element.

Go shine on girls and boys…go do what you desire!

Go break the age old stereotypes….take the roads less travelled!

Go live an adventurous life and enjoy varied experiences!

Go find your individual purposes….go do more than just earning a livelihood …..go follow your hearts and realise your dreams!

Make the most of the beautiful life bestowed on you by God!
Make it count not in terms of the big salaries you’ll earn …but more in terms of a purposeful and a better lived life!

 

Parental Duties ….Silver Linings!

 

It’s a beautiful day and I am sitting in a quite little breakfast place … on yet another holiday …my favourite day-Sunday. Happy in my heart and humming my favourite song……exploring the place , the menu, the lovely people serving …..enjoying a Cappuccino, biting into a sinfully delicious muffin…thinking about parenting duties and it’s silver linings.

I am actually on a so called boring parenting duty of dropping, waiting and picking up my daughter from her class …some 20 kms away from home. From abacus classes since when my kids were almost babies to now when they are attending preparatory classes for college….I have had the luxury to be their car buddy and also had some exclusive time to myself thanks to the waiting time I got …to introspect ….to eat what my heart desires …to work and to write. Why I call it a luxury and an opportunity instead of a boring duty is because I have enjoyed the “Me Time ” thoroughly. There is so much I have done in these hours of waiting over the years. I have tried out new restaurants and coffee shops, met some very interesting people from different walks of life, written some of my blog posts, developed ideas for new projects, wrote and edited some parts of my books, met old friends for breakfast …….also guiltily burnt some green notes … and now some pink notes on few of the shopping expeditions I took close to the location of the classes … ….all done expertly in the waiting time before taking my kids back home. Dropping and coming back to pick them up in  just couple of hours didn’t seem like a viable option and that made me look at the silver linings. The ” Me Time” has been a fantastic get away most of the days barring a few when I have either had a writers block or days when nothing seemed to have gone my way. I am also sheepishly guilty about making my children feel terrible by accusing them of not being vocal enough about their gratitude for my spending hours waiting for them….I think only a few times in many years though.

Today while sitting and sipping my coffee in this beautiful breakfast All Day Place called Root’d in Gulmohar Park. Waiting for my daughter who is having a good time learning the nuances of fashion illustrations from a wonderful teacher……..I am reminiscing all those beautiful fantastic “me time moments”. Life is short….and there are blessings scattered everywhere for us to catch. Wishing we parents can keep counting these blessings and can keep our hearts singing and keep finding the silver linings in our boring parental duties!

 

Our children should be in the driving  seats AND not us in their College Admission Process!

College Admissions time is a pretty stressful period for parents everywhere…. I guess in all the 196 countries in this world. But “our whole family is involved” phenomena in this stress taking and stress giving process… is something that is more prevalent in developing countries.Parents are parents everywhere, they wish for the best for their children and in many western countries they feel their children’s best is best known to their children than the parents.  This doesn’t happen in India,in some cases we parents work hard to give enough stimulating experiences to our kids to find their passions. Then we sit back and let them take their own decisions in what they want to become or do in their adult lives. But other times we work a little too hard for our kids and take decisions for them,for their future with or without their consent and sometimes force, brain wash or manipulate our kids to do what we think is right, push them to a career path that presents a decent and safe job option for future.

I am an Indian parent who belongs to the first category. My daughter and not me I guess is the right person to authenticate or rubbish this notion. It is stressful for sure I am writing this post to talk about the anxiety of uncertainty we parents and kids feel during the admissions process. Also to help other parents understand that there is a whole lot needed for our children’s succeeding in getting admissions to good colleges. Having said that I also have a firm belief that only getting the admission into a good happening college doesn’t guarantee success and happiness forever.  Now that my daughter’s admission is done, my realisation is that inspite of  all that stress, it is and it always will be worth to take this journey with our children. But with a reminder that this has to be their journeyin which our children are in the driving  seats, not us.

One downand one to go …I am one experienced parent Hahahaha…some beautiful grey hair I have now. The amount of research I did and the knowledge that I have gained of the admission process funnily makes me I think I can easily take away the jobs of some career counsellors for sure, Counsellors who are earning a hefty amount selling dreams to our children and making the parents pay a huge price for their aspirations.

The college admission process …for foreign colleges starts an year or two in advance and depending on the countries and colleges being applied to includes maintaining a good  academic record , SAT /ACT self study or taking coaching classes for the tests , doing community service projects and  internships, writing meaningful statements of purpose and tons of essays, sports and extra curricular involvement in school and outside etc all done hopefully not just for the sake of admissions in the best colleges but also for building an interesting and worthwhile  life beyond school.

For Indian colleges the process starts many years in advancestudying in the coaching centres for IIT, law, design, architecture, entrances exams for many other fields and off course working really really hard to get marks in 90’s to stay on the top of college cut offs.In Indian Colleges context , we are just too many people, too many children studying …too much unjustified reservation, very few good colleges and thousands of students eying the limited seats. Some upsets in some cases were unexplainable, some admissions or lack of entry due to them not meeting their cutoff remains questionable.

Foreign College Admissions were a similar story. Children had a few hits and misses there too…again in some cases for reasons unknown. At these colleges the portfolios, SOP’s and essays counted big time, along with community service projects and internships. In some cases portfolios and essays were not student’s own work but were outsourced. And unfortunately for the deserving …some admission officers in foreign universities were successfully  fooled by the fakers. Thankfully unlike India many foreign universities give unconditional offers that gave a breather to the smart students and a way out to some who didn’t do very well and also to the ones who did very well but not well enough for DU and the other coveted colleges in India.

This year’s admissions are done, sealed envelopes have been opened and uncertainty is over. But now that the results are out, I am wondering if we really got it right. Looking at the present scenario around me,I am not sure if the best students got the best possible options …colleges suiting their calibre, aptitude and the right fit for them. All in all I don’t know if they got the courses they wanted or not but they got their closure, a reward for keeping their best foot forward and also for not so best maybe.

Hoping some of us ……completely involved parents …..whose kids got their dream and reach colleges …will let them be from here on!

Hoping some of us ….who found little time for aiding our kids with motivation and guidance during the process …will hand hold now and not get into a blame game!

Hoping some of us…who did both….giving guidance and space to our kids and still had more misses than hits, can let go of past and move forward. Because the marks or the admissions to best colleges and doing it right as per the standards is sometimes not what is best for our children,maybe they have some lessons left to learn or maybe the time isn’t right yet or maybe their destinies are bound somewhere else, maybe the path they took wasn’t theirs at all , maybe they are the next Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerbergs of the world who had to quit somewhere to shine somewhere else!

 

 

Jackpot of Love & Send Offs !

What makes life loveable is having family and friends with kids same age. And what makes it even sweeter is seeing our kids and their friends grow up  into beautiful people. My daughter is standing  on the edge with one foot almost outside our door. I can either begin my empty nest lifetime of grieving or simply focus on the fact that a wonderful young person has entered my life and keep reminding myself that with her I have won a jackpot ….. to have known many more beautiful young wires, her awesome friends.

Send offs have started , all of my daughters friends and classmates have found their own place under the sun and are ready to start their new lives , in different colleges, some in the same cities , some in new cities and others in new countries. It’s so so emotional to see all our babies who were a constant source of love …who gave us innumerable hugs and kisses during their sleepovers at our place and made everyday feel like a celebration for us for almost over a decade and half or more ….are all set to become big people…ready to leave us and embark on their individual life journeys. The realisation is hitting us hard…….that ….it’s not just our kids who are leaving, it’s also their friends and what’s leaving with them is the energy , the excitement , the buzz, the shopping trips, the need to fill our fridges full, the fun get togethers, the happy noises, the weekly family outings, arguments over which movie to watch together, the sibling fun nit picking,their keeping us on our toes,their gossip sessions, restaurant hunting, the pickups & drops and a lot of fun from our lives.

The frantic preparation is on . And so is the heart wrenching ordeal of our children getting ready to leave their old life behind. All our homes are busy making to do lists. Everyone is  trying hard to keep up with the various chores needed to be done before our daughters and sons leave home for good. There is so much to do ….doctor appointments, health checkups, eye tests and new glasses, vaccinations, shopping for their dorm and new residences, rush to driving schools enrolments, buying new clothes & shoes, college supplies, new laptops and phones, packing medicine pouches etc etc . All homes of teenage kids ready to fly are buzzing with activity, send off parties, grandparents blessings parties, celebrations, family and friends lunches and dinners . Life is good and kicking and busy …so little time …so much to do …we parents are trying hard to pack anything and everything our children might need when they are away from us. But what we all deep down rather have is them staying back with us or us packing our bags to leave with them.

We parents are getting all emotional , we can cry on the smallest provocation. We are shamelessly demanding selfies with our children and their friends, a little too often for their liking. We are all hugging our kids and their friends tighter than we ever did, worrying ourselves sick …. if they will eat enough and eat right, what will they do if they have a cold or throat infection….we are over awed by the intensity of emotions that are flooding in us. This lightening speed of our worries for their future is a new in our parenting journey and is keeping us awake in the night and giving us pots full of anxiety in the day.

But our children seem to be braving it and handling it better than us. They are  fighting their own battles and that also much bigger ones than us. They are going  to be leaving their comfort zones, their friends and siblings who they love more than their own lives, their rooms and their loos and their safe havens behind. And moving forward to embrace the new world, along with a new set of insecurities…..anxiety of future relationships and friendships and are stepping into new exciting but unknown territories. Amazing isn’t it how inspite of their own turmoils …they are being so sweet to us ….they are letting us speak aloud our grief , our worries and letting us hug them longer and trying hard to tell us to not worry…. feeling our pain of struggle with detachment anxiety ….feeling our need to hang on longer to that kiss and trying their hardest to make it easier for us to let go and move on.

Cheers to Their New Beginnings and Ours!

Let’s together thank God for an abundance of love that came in our share through our children and their friends!
Let’s now start looking forward to their winter and summer breaks …times when our families will feel complete again. And when our homes will be buzzing with their friends and there will be lots of noise, blaring music and an overload of hugs and kisses…… again … everywhere !