Saturday, August 22, 2015

Absentee landlord

 
It was Shekhar’s birthday yesterday. He would be 53.
 
On Father’s day this year, our younger one came to me and said, “Happy Father’s Day, Mom!” I looked questioningly at him and he added, “You are both parents to me now.” I bawled, made mute by the simple profundity of his statement. It’s been on my mind ever since.
All I have done in Shekhar’s absence is to scale up to being there for the boys no matter what. It has not been a conscious choice.  There has been no thought or consideration to becoming the sum of two people. On most days, it is hard enough just being me. I tread a fine line everyday where I have learnt not to push too hard or go too easy on them. I realise that I am their soft place to fall and if I turn on them, they have nowhere to go. But manning up is not half as much of a struggle than the times when the boys achieve milestones that we should ideally have celebrated together as a family. Like when our younger one graduated college with flying colours this year. I had not envisioned how I would feel when it happened. It was an expected milestone and one which I saw as a culmination of my responsibilities towards their education. I craved to share it with the only other person in the world who would be as invested in his achievement as I was and he wasn’t there. It is hard to articulate the complete sense of deflation and utter loneliness of the moment…
Yesterday, to honour Shekhar’s birthday, our older one released a single, Redemption , from his upcoming debut album ‘Orion.’ He dedicated it to me. Again I was overwhelmed by the need to share…and again…
As the boys leave behind delineated milestones and move into the realm of achieving dreams, the pain of his absence becomes more and more poignant. I wish he could see them now. See what awesome young men they have become. How they shine in his light. How they carry his legacy and name…I imagine that the heart that failed him would find a new reason to beat…with the inexplicable sense of pride and joy of bringing them into being…just like mine.
***
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
 
On Children by Kahlil Gibran
 


6 comments:

  1. I hover and hum and haw over your posts - there is so much I want to say, and then I can't, because there are no words for the feelings you evoke.

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  2. I hear your silent words, Upreet :) Thank you for reading...

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  3. I'm sure he is watching and couldn't be more proud of them and more so you for bringing them up so well. Women like you should be celebrated everyday :)

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  4. Thank you, Adil...I know you come from a shared place and understand better than most...

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