Last night neither my firebrand teen nor I could sleep. She was hyper excited, the biggest Inter School Competition was here and she had to be in school at 6 am to catch the bus. I was hyper anxious not to oversleep for she had to be in school by 6 am to catch the bus.
Anyway, two alarms later, a hurried breakfast, plenty of “Where are you? Hurry up! I’m almost there” phone calls and texts between the buddies, panic stricken dash on the scooter (nothing tackles the shortcut alleys like a two wheeler), we were at the school gates at 6 am to catch the bus.
That’s where Ms Fiery Teen bid me goodbye.
“I’m ok mom. No need to see me sit in the bus. Yeah, I’ll hello everyone on your behalf. Wish me luck. Cheerios!”
With that she disappeared into a crowd of children who looked remarkably same from a distance. There was me and another anxious couple parked at the kerb. They, I assume, were hopefully trying to catch a glimpse of their kid or maybe the accompanying teacher. I switched on the ignition, fired my scooter and took off.
She had the phone, the teachers accompanying were my colleagues (yeah! Same campus, different wings but I swear I haven’t mentioned a word to them about Daughter Dear) and the school where the competition is taking place has a friend who promised to look out for her. Also I did not intend to be a helicopter although now that I’m writing this down, maybe I’m hovering discreetly at a distance.
I really need to get a life, catch up on my chores, TV viewing, meditation, blogging and my school work.
Barely do I reach home when the universe decides to surprise me.
My school declares a holiday for the staff after sending multiple reminders the previous night for reporting on Saturday at 8.30 am. Then I also get an invitation to go to the same Inter School event in a chauffeured car in the company of another great friend I had been meaning to meet. I’d say, the universe was definitely egging me on.
Believe me, every fibre in my body urged me to go. The only thing holding me back was probably facing Ms Fiery’s exasperation on seeing mom who was safely tucked at home appear and my own thoughts of ‘succumbing to the perils of helicopter parenting’.
There I said it!
A helicopter parent (also called a cosseting parent or simply a cosseter) is a parent who pays extremely close attention to a child’s or children’s experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions. Helicopter parents are so named because, like helicopters, they “hover overhead”, overseeing every aspect of their child’s life constantly. ( Wikipedia)
So I brewed a cup of hot coffee, steeled myself for a ‘have fun, keep me posted’ text to all parties and went offline. My day stretched, full of possibilities and I could sleep too. Nothing like the moment to tackle the laundry pile, perfect way to destress and get clean sheets.
Hmm… now that I think, I am actually looking forward to next year when she’ll be finally off to college. The nest then will be truly empty. Sonny leaving for college last year hadn’t been too bad. Ms Fiery tells me because I took her on as a pet project.
To tell you the truth, it was a relief to all, including Sonny to finally button down what he wanted to do professionally and get a place in the college he had short listed. Sad to say but in India, decision regarding how you want to go about earning your bread has to be made pronto or you miss the bus.
Seriously, what’s with this fear of missing the bus with us.
Anyway, Ms Fiery marches to her own drumbeat and she is damn sure about what she doesn’t want to do.
So yeah, preparing myself to let go and rather looking forward to what she does do.
Meanwhile, learning to clench harder when advice is rejected in favour of walking down paths that angels fear to tread, resisting the urge to play Sherlock, bottling my irritation, not thinking of the worst case survival scenarios and doing my best not to throw the ‘I told you so’.
So there, although I’ve been told the empty nest syndrome is brutal, the anticipation is strong. I intend to go through my bucket list of travel and adventure with ruthless efficiency and for once not let school calendar disrupt my plans.
Meanwhile I’m still feeling terrible about not going (the online chatter – irresistible, I’ve discovered, says everyone I know is there…aargh!) but the silver lining is that laundry goals for the week have been achieved and maybe this August post will be published soon enough.
By the way, this is a fabulous time to be alive for it is technology to the rescue. My friend in that school sent me the live streaming link to the show so my FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is taken care of .
As for Ms Fiery, I happened to text her of the opportunity to travel to her for the event, she texted back, “Please come Ma. Don’t think, just come.”
My baby is the best!
The idea was sparked by a fantastic travel writer and photographer’s blog series Anticipation and Preparation. Here’s to incredible travel goals although in case of this post, empty nests are more of an inevitable kind that come with their set of anticipation and preparation.