A gaping hole
If I had the power to change one thing, I would would change my decision to send my daughter abroad to study.
All over my house there are pictures of two smiling girls, my girls who look back at me,sometimes with shyness, their eyes twinkling bright, their faces reflecting joy and happiness. Today, alas I have only one girl with me and I look at the photos with deep regret and a sense of loss – the loss of my older girl who is lost to me forever.
I can never forget those warning words of Col.Simeon the husband of my mother’s bridge partner who voiced these words ” Never send your child abroad to study for an under graduate program. The child is too young and will never come back.”
Like so many others, I scoffed at them, dismissing them as being typically negative and regressive. ” That will never happen to me. My daughter will always be mine. I want her to study, broaden her mind and be equipped to conquer the world.” So I sent her abroad, confident that she would return and today those words return to haunt me every time I see her face, frozen in a photograph.
Alas, things were not meant to be and foolishly, nay stubbornly refused to see the writing on the wall : her reluctance to speak on the phone ( I used to call her just to hear her voice message on the answering machine because that’s what I heard most of the time), her extreme reluctance to come home for the holidays and her impatience to get back, her slow withdrawal from the family and her strong attraction to her friends who eventually became her family and finally just the complete transformation of my little girl to a strong, independent woman who had a mind of her very own.
Every time I look at the pictures of my girls around the house, I remember the words of Khalil Gibran reproduced here below.
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.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
And I also remember the saying
“If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it is yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.”
So it would seem my daughter was never mine to begin with but I truly believe that if I had not trusted her so implicitly, if I had not believed that she could ever leave me, if I had only listened to Col. Simeon, I would have had two daughters smiling back at me.
Not a moment goes by every day when I think if I had the power to change one thing, I would go back and tell her ” Child, go abroad after four years. Finish your graduation here and go. ” I now tell every mother who asks my advice about sending children abroad – if you are prepared to live alone, talk to an answering machine, get woken up in the middle of the night ( if at all the telephone rings) and are prepared to lose your child then definitely send them abroad……
I don’t believe in regrets and am pretty much happy with my life, but if I had the power to change one thing I would would change my decision to send my daughter abroad for studies. It transformed her life as it transformed mine and left me with a gaping hole.