From earning her money to making her own food, Toyna has grown so fast that I sometimes have to look at my old blogs just to remind me of her childhood. Like any mother, I feel immense pride at seeing her unfurl her wings and set out to fly. Yet, at the same time, I fear for her safety. What if she flies too fast, too far? What if there is a predator out there? What if she loses her way? What if…
Like any parent, I would love to keep my child close to me and shield her from harm. But then fate taught me one of the biggest lessons of my life when Toyna was barely six. She was out playing with her friends in the children park when a child accidentally pushed her off a slide. Toyna landed squarely on her open right palm. The pressure of her entire body falling from that height cracked her right elbow in multiple places. Weeks and months of surgeries and physiotherapy helped her heal physically. As a child, she has long forgotten the trauma of the accident but as a parent, I still get jitters sometimes in the middle of the night. For years, I wondered, “Could I have done something differently to have avoided the accident? How can I keep her safe? What if something like that happens again?”
Most times in life, if we are truly looking, we find our answers in time. As I saw Toyna move on effortlessly from the accident and learn to punch and break bricks with the same arm during her Taekowondo practice, I figured that perhaps it was time for me to move on as well. But Hey! they always say everything in life happens to help us learn a lesson. As long as we learn our lesson, most likely, that thing will not repeat. Before pushing the accident into the deep recess of my mind, I desperately searched for that lesson. I learnt that our fear for our children’s safety doesn’t keep them safe. On the other hand, our fear only makes them weak.
I learnt that Fear is a beautiful thing, if only, we channelize the fear to become stronger. I joined Toyna into Taekowondo as soon the doctor gave a green signal because I was scared for the safety of a growing girl child. I started learning about nutrition and brain health because I wanted her mind and body to be stronger to fight anything that the world threw at her. I taught her to cross road by herself and buy groceries on her own. I even encouraged her to cook food and earn money through small businesses because I was scared if something happened to her Dad and me, she should be able to take care of herself. I talked to her about relationships, heartbreak, sex and STDs because I am scared that boys are scouting for free sex.
You can call me a pessimistic parent but believe me there is no single parent who has not thought about these What If’s more than once. I am proud of being scared because I use that fear as a force to power me into action. When it comes to my children, I just cannot sit in one place and keep feeling scared. I use my fear to make my daughter and myself stronger. And once we are stronger, I no longer fear that fear.
Looking at my beautiful daughter now, I do not fear most of anything. I know she is strong inside and out. I know she can still get hurt but that fear does not make us weaker in any way. I love the way she reaches out to her friends, many a times, putting herself at risk. But I know she has calculated the risk in her mind.
Sigh! Even as I write this blog and I know when my daughter reads this, we are going to have our next set of conversations going on like this, “Hey Mom! If you trust me so much, how come I am still not allowed to do this.. and that.. and that thing that day.. “ I know I have to answer her and I am still struggling. Many of our conversations end at this conclusion, “Toyna I know you have grown up but I guess your Mother is yet to grow up to that level! Give me time till I am ready to let you fly out yet another window. Give me time to grow as a mother. Give me a little more time to feel your wings underneath mine. Give me some more time to hold you close to me. Give me some more time to think that you need me. Give me some more time to be your mother. I am not ready to let go of you just yet.”