Sharing this immensely practical advice given by Mrs. Chithra Vishwanathan, who’s a famous Cooking expert. And I can vouch, I have seen the same story unfold among relatives and families of friends and neighbours – especially if the lady is a homemaker. The vacuum in the mother’s life after the kids leave home can push her into depression. Maybe you can relate to the below story and learn from it.
When my daughter, the elder one of my two children got married & left the house, I felt as if I could not let her leave me. Having a daughter & a son, I know what both mean, but differently .
Once my daughter reached her teens I had started feeling as if my daughter was a “physical extension” of me ! So when she was leaving home to set up her own nest, it was as though I was losing a limb .
The next time she came for a short stay with us, I was astonished how her priorities had changed. (of course we must have given the same shocks to our own parents ! ). When she said Amma, she meant her MIL & not me! I imagined that she was always in a hurry to go back to her house & not stay with me for a few more days. That was the first time, it dawned on me that I have to start practising detachment in attachment.
Two years after my daughter’s marriage, my son left for higher studies to U S. Having experienced a child’s separation once, I was better equipped emotionally. I plunged head long into various classes held in the city starting from vedanta to healing to ikebana – I just wanted to be away from home since my husband was a 7-7 worker & a workaholic. My son used to write how he was missing my home cooked food, how he was waiting to come back to live in Chennai with us etc.
After a few years, he did come back & we got him married. He started living separately with his wife & we were also happy that they wanted to be independent from the beginning.
But now, it was all changed ! When in the U S, he missed my cooking, now if I called him to come over with his wife for a meal, it was always some excuse like “Oh, Amma, we have other plans for the day, please don’t mistake us if we don’t drop in today” ! I could see that his priorities had also changed completely.
We talk in theory so many things & give advice to others etc but when it comes to your own children, acceptance comes very late & next step is just leaving them undisturbed in every way, mainly without advice from our end.
It was at that time, I made the following lines as my “new profile”:
In all my relationships, rather interactions, I give my best. I work hard to mature & cherish them. My attachment with them is complete. However, I remain detached in the sense that I do not expect them to reciprocate my affection. Most importantly, I make a conscious effort, not to interfere or pass judgements on the lives they choose to lead. My concern for my near & dear ones will not fade with my detachment. If you let go of the ones you love, they will never go away – this is the beauty of attachment with detachment !
I have learnt to love & let go.This dictum has developed tolerance in me. When I let the people live the way they want to, I learn to accept them for what they are. Most importantly, I learn to tolerate the world around me & this tolerance brings in me a sense of peace & contentment. I ask God to guide me in being loving, compassionate, tolerant & understanding when I interact with others. If a person wants to share a thought or concern with me I want that person to feel comfortable to do so. I want to remain peaceful & approachable to others. Before I speak , I pray to God to give me the right words so that I express myself clearly & with consideration to others.
Since both my children live in Chennai, I follow this very strictly, you know why ! Now I have realised that we start growing mentally much more only after the children leave the house & we have to tackle the emotional vacuum, that arises, along with age-related problems like menopause which set in simultaneously. I find this is the most testing period for a woman, as well & emerging successfully is a slow process.
I specially dedicate this post to my friends, who are totally dependent on their children’s lives, to nurture their own selves emotionally. Please develop your own interests, hobbies etc, however mundane they may seem to be.