Warming Up To Mother!

Can any person take the place of a mother? Ever?

Can the warmth of a mother’s pallu/lap be substituted? Ever?

Can we have enough of a mother’s love? Ever?

Warming Up To Mother! - Mother's Lap - Mom's Love - Mother's Presence

Till date, I miss my mother. It’s been years since she passed away. I am a grown up woman, mother of a teenager and yet, there are times when life seems incomplete without the presence of my mother. I do not know whether my son will feel the same about me when I am dead and gone. But, this much I do realise that just like nobody else can take my mother’s place, nobody else will be able to take my place in my son’s life.

This is not a statement made in a fit of emotion or said proudly. I know that the same holds true for all mothers who love their children. I only worry about the time when my son is settled in life, has a good job, a loving family and life for him is more or less complete. Rarely, does such a ‘and they lived happily ever after’ family include aged parents in it.

If they happen to be there, then it is either because they are still alive and have nowhere to go or, the tiny tots need to be taken care of or the house needs to be supervised while the rest of the family is out socialising or on a vacation.

There used to be a time when I was more worried about my son settling down. I still do but as I grow older my mind and emotions fast forward and wonder about the time ahead of settling down. I really do want to engage my thoughts and emotions then to more non attached causes where/when leaving the mortal form will leave me with neither regret nor sorrow.

Mother’s Day was observed recently. Innumerable children would have wished their mothers a Happy Mother’s Day. In a way, it is good because the poor dearie mothers are at least told verbally that their children love them! But, what happens after that? Life goes back to the expectations the children have of their mothers of taking care/supervising their day-to-day activities (read chores) and the expectations that the mothers have of their children of studying and behaving well, of taking care of them when they are older…

Old age frightens me less than the probable expectations that I might have of my son. Old age if more or less healthy is in fact, the right state where one can look at life more objectively having seen it, experienced it all.

Talk as much as I do about not having too many expectations of my son after he is old enough to run his life on his own, I cannot predict my emotions when I am old and weak. Would I then, require more of my son’s presence in my life? Or, would I then, be stable (both, mentally and physically) enough to branch out and direct my expectations to a more service oriented or spiritually catering life?

There’s still lots of time for that, but the sands of time wait for no one so, I wonder, leaping in the meanwhile to the invisible warmth of my mother’s lap.

Shail Raghuvanshi is a freelance journalist, content writer, editor, book reviewer and poet. She has 15 years of writing experience in newspaper, magazine, radio and television. She has worked as a Spoken English Teacher too. She runs a blog for writers called Write Space  and blogs at her personal blog Muse N’ Motivation. A daughter, wife, mother and friend, she believes that there is no situation that can’t be made better. Faith, Friendship and Family are what makes her life complete.

  • This is so touching… It makes me think about our aged parents and their concerns..
    We often get so much involved in our lives that we hardly think what they have been through while raising us. But it should be vice versa as well… the elders should at least make an attempt to gel up in the lives of the young generation and not make it difficult for them…

    • Hi Manjulika,

      I know. I used to think the same way too that the senior citizens should gel in the lives of the younger generation but then, life doesn’t become easy for the older lot as they grow older. They become more and more insecure, frail in body and spirit and the only way they know to get attention is to either let loose their temper or just disconnect. I have seen it happen. After 50-70 years it is difficult for them to change but we/the younger generation can become a wee bit more flexible and not make it an ego issue. What do you say?
      It is difficult but not impossible.

  • Here are the two thoughts which came to my mind on reading this:
    1. I do fear not having parents some day in my life. Sometimes I have even cried uncontrollably for no reason, just because the thought affected me so much. Parents are that place in our lives where we can go anytime without any questions. But I also feel that the pain is probably a little less when you become a parent. I can’t explain this but then you become responsible for your child, provide him ‘that space’.
    2. Right now I have a toddler, who is depended on me for almost everything. Slowly his independence and circle will grow, and keep on growing till he is a mature, adult himself. We fear that in the business of life, is he going to prioritize other things over us? I remember how my dad used to tell me ‘you don’t even have time to call your poor parents”, I would not think about it too much then. But now I do. It must be so saddening to see kids getting busy with their lives and parents playing so less role.

    • Hi Reema,

      I cannot but agree. I mourn my mother’s demise even today. And when I see my father becoming frailer day by day (although his will and perfection spirit are still strong!) I worry. As a teenager, my son is growing, changing. There will come a day when it might become like that ad for that cellphone where a mother implores her son to talk to her atleast two or three times a week and it requires a cell phone change to make him realize how lonely his mother is….
      Let’s hope we remain strong in spirit even if our bodies fail us….

  • Brinda Subramanian

    Hi Shail
    A very thoughtful topic. I think all of us, at the back of our mind, wonder and fear our oldage. I personally think it is important to set a little bit of time aside for ourselves now. We are so focussed on our family that we forget about ourselves. It becomes difficult when, one day, we realize that our kids have grown up and do not need us anymore but if we set some time now for things such as service projects, spirtual retreats and such, we will be able to do the transition more naturally and gradually. Another important thing I tell my kids is, to cultivate some good hobbies because they come a long way. At a time when your kids are well settled and are enjoying their life, you still have something to do that you enjoy. I dont know if our kids would even be in the same country as we live in so there is another reason why we need to plan our oldage. I dont know if my kids or my husband will travel with me through my oldage but I am slowly learning through spirituality to let go and accept every moment with open arms. I don’t know if I will say the same thing 20-30 years from now but we’ll see 🙂

    • Hi Brinda,

      Yes, it is very important that we make time for ourselves now when there is still time and when our children are not exactly settled. This way, we will know what to do when the time arrives. Otherwise, the heart break will be too much to bear. Letting go, yes, that is important – not easy but not impossible either.

  • Hi Shail,

    At my age with children well grown up, I will like to share how I feel about flow of love from children and parent.

    Life flows from top downwards. Like a river. From parent to children to their children. Each in their time cares more for their children and less for parent.
    Parents are roots and children fruits/flowers. Fruits and flowers are adored, roots though not adored, wise ones care knowing their value. Those who do not care close their own source of infinite love.

    And parents pass through high and low of attention they receive. I experience in now.

    But one more development take place as one gets older and end can be seen coming closer. Identification with form diminishes and awareness that everything is temporary increase. This awareness takes away much of pain of material world. One feels responsible to emerging consciousness and bringing its light into this world. In fact this state of mind is a gift making old age years golden years of life. Earlier this happens better it is.

    Just ensure you are financially independent and comfortable in your old age.

    • Hi Harshad,

      A beautiful reply . Couldn’t have expected anything lesser from a poet. Yes indeed, the ebb and flow is there and must be acknowledged by both parent and grown up child. This way, both feel less pain – the pain of letting go. Realizing the value of the root is important so that we gain from it all and keep the bond of love ever flowing. Realizing the importance of the temporary nature of life is necessary too in order to leave and not feel the pain. And yes, financial independence too in order to maintain our self respect and not depend….

      Thank You Harshad……

  • I am a person who can fight with my mother but can not stay without talking to her once a day , no matter where I stay. and still when I visit her , i always feel that she had been saving so much emotions , so much of her cooking , her gossips for this weekend with her kids. She is a busy lady with lot of spiritual interests and helps dad in his business and yet she has always thoughts on her kids. I wish i didn’t have to leave her to work so far. And wonder how good it would be if i could take her with me after wedding too. A large joint family sort 😀

    Anyway , what I learned from her is never to feel lonely and ways to stay connected to all you love. To make people feel important by intentions and words if not actions. and someday , when my kids go away from me , I too will find my own peace some how.

    • Hi Nimue,

      I had exactly the same attitude with my mother when she was alive. She was my friend, my guide, my everything. I realized it more when she passed away. The years she was present in my life mortally she taught me the value of relationships. I hope I am able to do that with my child so that he never ever feels insecure.

  • nadi

    Shail, this is beautiful

    • Hi Nadi,

      So nice of you to drop by and thanks for the compliment
      Just wrote what my heart felt.

  • Really thought provoking topic. Many people are worried about the future of elders as the younger generation is no longer bothered to take care of them. They have started asking why they should waste their time by taking care of the elders. Really disturbing trend.


    • Hello Hari,

      Yes. Very true. The trends are changing. Sometimes, I wonder whether the parents are to blame too when they try to compensate quality and quantity time for their children with material goods instead of love, time and affection. Secondly, the society’s thoughts also tend to influence the values that children develop. Whatever be the trend, as an individual I only hope I raise my child without too many expectations so that when the time comes, I am able to let go…

  • Nuggehalli Pankaja

    Dear Shail,
    It is a wonderful topic that you raised, with a moving poem to surface the divine bond between mother and child., The viewpoint of each is highly absorbing, emotional as well as practical.
    Most of them are mothers,some daughters, while I a grandmother has this to say—yes,the nest becomes a sort of lifeless when the fledglings develops wings and flies away, but it can be brightened in a different way through time -engaging hobbies of one’s inclination. And there is always the telephone and skype,to keep the contact alive; Speaking for myself, Writing has dispelled all stray thoughts and channelized emotions revealing a new,exciting-challenging goal. Shail, on this day, congratulations to you for brightening and guiding the lonely mothers-would be mothers, in your own unique way!