When we talk of letting our kids fly, I never realised it would be so literal. Here we are at the airport, each fighting a million emotions.
You seem so calm as you look at the doors to the terminus and say, “So guys, I guess this is it!” And then you let out your breath in a whoosh which belies both your excitement and nervousness.
You give me a toothy grin as we hug. You cling on just that little bit longer, rest your head on my shoulder and whisper, “Don’t worry Mom, I’ll be all right.”
How many times over the years, have I heard these words. How many times over the years have I had to still the fears of my heart and say, “I know” and then let you go on to do whatever next you had to in the process of growing up.
But today is different. You are no longer going to be with us, where we can keep an eye on you as you try your wings, to catch you if you fall. No, today you are flying, all on your own. Away from the nest, to create a life of your own.
You hug dad. He holds you close, reluctant to let his baby girl go so far away. Your eyes mist over as you say, “Come on papa! It’s not like I’m going out of India. I’m just going to Hyderabad.” He kisses your forehead and jokes about how he can now expect some authentic Hyderabadi biryani.
Natasha, your twin, has no qualms about letting her tears flow. It is the first time the two of you have ever been separated. I wonder how you will cope with that.
It’s time for you to enter those monstrous doors. My worries spill over. This is the first time you are flying. How will you manage? Where will you stay in Hyderabad? What about your food? Should I have gone with you to help you settle?
You enter the terminus and turn around and give us a cheeky wink. We laugh through our tears. I feel Dad’s hand on my shoulder and I lean back into him. We stand there as one, giving each other strength as our baby walks away towards her new life, her new job at Google.
Note: This was six years ago when Nakita left the nest. I must say I am so proud of the way she has managed and continues to manage her life. You would think that knowing this would prepare me for the time when Natasha prepares to fly. But though my head tells me that she will be okay, my heart wants to cling and pretend that she needs me, when the truth is that it is I who need my kids and want to hold on to them. So once again, I will smile through my tears and say, “Go on, my baby, fly!”