Too Fast!

“Is this the little girl I carried, is this the little boy at play? I don’t remember growing older, when did they? When did she get to be a beauty? When did he grow to be so tall? Wasn’t it yesterday when they were small?”

Sunrise, Sunset from “Fiddler on the Roof”

Lately, I’ve been lamenting on how fast time goes. Watching both my kids spending time with their friends more than they would with their old folks has saddened me a bit. When she would prefer spending time with her friends more than with you, when she would make excuses to not go on the fun trips that you planned, when she would spend hours on the phone chatting with her friends instead of talking with you, that’s when I know that something big has happened in the life of my teenage daughter. This new reality upsets me that in return, causes me to channel it to her. Like the other day, looking at her talking on the phone made me angry. I snapped and threatened her that I would take her phone away.  Bitterly, she asked, “Papi, what did I do wrong? I finished my homework. I practiced my piano. You blamed me for watching TV too much. Now, I don’t watch TV, and you’re still mad at me.” That response put a cork in my mouth. She got the point! Goodness, I felt like I am now turning into a teenager with boiling hormones. I couldn’t reason well.

Yesterday, as I reflected on my erratic behavior, I realized that that was me when I was that age. I would rather spend more time with my friends than with my parents. Talking for hours on the phone with them or going on trips with them. My time with my parents became less and less as the time went on and eventually I left them and made my own abode in the U.S. Isn’t that a normal path of growing up?

Maybe the uneasy feeling I have with my daughter is rooted in jealousy deep within wanting my daughter to be solely mine. Or maybe an insecure feeling or I am still in shock knowing that my daughter is  getting bigger. I simply couldn’t keep up with reality…and do you know what frightens me? I fear that the time for college or adulthood will come so quickly and when she’s no longer living with me. I fear the moment when she spread her wings and fly away from the nest that has been holding her for years. My parents went through it with me and now it is my turn to accept the inevitable that my children will have their own life and destiny. They will have to fight their own fights and dream their own dreams.

Kahlil Gibran, a Lebanese poet,  wrote this beautiful poem:

“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….”

As for me now, I hope that I can be a good parent who seeks more to understand than to be understood; more to love than to be loved. I hope I can be a parent who can give my children a place to train their young wings, a safe launching pad for them to go the destination that has been prepared by God for them, and a loving home where they can return to at the end of their journey.

“Point your kids in the right direction-  when they’re old they won’t be lost.” Proverbs 22:6

Love and prayers,

Vincent Arishvara 10182018