Letting You Fly

We reached the garden. You saw the gigantic metal giraffe painted in red and yellow and green. Colours designed to attract every little soul who entered the garden. Without warning you left my hand and ran to the giraffe. Before I realised it your feet were on the first rungs of the bars that made it up. And you started climbing. I don’t really know how tall that thing was. But to my fear numbed brain it seemed at least 10 feet high. And there you were a tiny little thing, just past your second birthday, trying to climb up as fast as you could.

I opened my mouth to shout and call you back down, when I caught your father’s eye and he just shook his head to stop me. I understood what he meant. We had made a pact that we would never stop you from exploring, from learning by doing. We had promised ourselves that we would give you the freedom to grow, to fly, to touch the sky. And now that it seemed that you were actually trying to reach for the sky, I could only stand there paralysed with fear, watching you as you climbed higher and higher. And as you reached higher all that I could think of was that it was a longer way to fall. I had visions of broken bones and worse.

Dad in the meantime positioned himself beneath the monster, encouraging you and telling you where to place your feet. His presence there gave you the confidence to go right to the very top, secure in the knowledge that Daddy was there to catch you if you fell.  You finally reached the top and squealed with delighted laughter. I could not help but laugh with you, as tears streamed down my face.

You climbed back down with Dad guiding you and the minute you reached the ground, I swooped you up into a hug that hid all my anxiety. And then so sweetly and innocently you asked me, “Mamma, why are you crying?” I answered you with what I now realise was the truth, “Because I am so proud of you.”

 

 

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Your first day at school

I remember that first cry of yours – an angry squeal, as if to ask, “Why are you taking me away from my mother?” How tiny you were then! You seemed so fragile! You were so beautiful! I remember how proud your father and I were of you, our own little twin daughters! You were a miracle of life! We could hardly believe that two such perfect babies belonged to us!

Slowly you grew. Days turned to weeks, weeks to months. From helpless babes you grew to an awareness of things and people around you. I remember the endless nights when the two of you took turns to sleep and I would wonder if you would ever sleep at the same time.

I enjoyed holding your soft warm bodies, cuddling you close to my heart. How I loved those first delighted smiles and coos, crawls and stumbles!

Slowly you grew, learnt to crawl and walk and with each new month, you learnt new skills; and with each new thing you learnt, you grew a little independent of me. You no longer needed me to hold your hand as you ran around the house. You no longer needed me to play beside you. You could now eat by yourselves and make yourselves understood, yet I did not feel sad, because I was still the centre of your world. When ever anything frightened you or seemed threatening, you immediately rushed to seek shelter in my arms. You still willingly believed everything I told you. “Mummy can never be wrong,” was your firm belief.

You made me feel so needed! You showed me the meaning of life! You showed me all the silver linings behind the clouds and all the pots of gold at the end of the rainbow!

Today you are going to school for the first time! How sweetly serious you look in your smart uniforms, with your school bags and shoes! As I look at you, my heart contracts with mixed feelings – of pride and sadness. Pride because you are going to learn to take part in social life and sadness because from now on I will no longer be the centre of your world. That little world of ours must, of necessity, be destroyed in order that you learn to live in the bigger, wider world beyond. Now no longer will my word be law. Now I will hear statements like, “But Mummy, teacher says….” Some unknown person is going to take over the task of molding your little minds.

And you so sweetly say, “Don’t worry, Mummy. We won’t cry for you. We will go to school by ourselves.” Oh, how those words hurt! I feel like sitting down and crying my heart out. But no, I must smile and be cheerful as I explain to you what a great adventure going to school is.

Your grandmother looks on and smiles a little nostalgically. She pats my shoulder and says, “The greatest pain of a mother is to see her children grow. As the year keep coming, the distance keeps growing and the pain keeps increasing. But so does the pride and satisfaction. I guess where there is love there is always pain and if there is no pain in letting go there is no love.”