You only can give birth to a child. You can’t expect to own them when they become adults— their bodies, feelings, desires, dreams, consent— nope. I’m sorry if this hurts to know but those things are not yours to control. And that is, of course, in spite of all that you have sacrificed for them or for all the love you have given to them. Don’t put your love on a bargain to emotionally blackmail your adult child. Your ego must not weigh more than your child’s happiness.
This is not how it works. Neither logically nor legally. Perhaps you are worried about the culture or the society around you, what will they say, how will we answer? Well, then, think of the answers. Find the right answers, instead of taking the easy way out- do what everyone else is doing.
Who is this society? Is this one person or two people? Why are you so desperate to be a part of it? Is this society giving you birthday surprises or kissing you good morning every day or lovingly buying you clothes with their first salary? Does the society call you to ask if you’ve had lunch? Does the society come with you to the doctor when you’re sick? Does it pester you until you eat the medicines? Does it push you for the morning walk? How many times does the society give you a hug when you need it the most? How much will the society cry when you are dead?
You have given them all they wanted. The best kind of education, the luxuries, entertainment, the joys, love, warmth and care. You have slept on the wet side of the bed. You have stayed awake all night when they were unwell and did not complain the next day. You are reverential, you are godly. But you are not God.
But was it all on a bargain? That they lead their life as per your wish? They must marry someone from your caste or love.
Do you want yourself to be remembered for being the parent who always lived in a comparative world? You always compared their marks to others. They kept wondering how much would be enough. Even when the times they would do better than the previous times, it would never be enough compared to the other kid in the class. At some point, they stopped caring. You compared their sports performance too.
Then their salary. Why couldn’t you tell them that it’s okay if they earn a little less but do what makes them happy? Why was a car an important dream? Do people without cars die?
Did you ask them to marry because everyone else was? Because they wouldn’t get a good person in your limited search definition. Did you ever tell them that they were being abnormal when they loved someone? So what if it were a person of the same gender! So what you couldn’t picture them with that person? Can you picture a giraffe delivering a baby without the baby falling out from such a height? You can’t. So does that Not happen? It does.
Do you know that the clownfish (the fish in ‘Finding Nemo) can switch sexes throughout their life history! All clownfish are born male, but if the dominant female dies, the dominant male of the group with start eating more, growing in size and becomes the new dominant female. So Nemo’s father is actually Nemo’s mother! Gender and sexuality could be complex to understand. But how could you think they are abnormal in any way? Aren’t they a part of you?
Did they ever compare you to other parents? How did it feel? It pinched you, right? It is true, you are the best set of parents that your child could ever get. No one can love them more than you. So how about stopping the competition here and treating your child as the special one, just like the first moment when you saw them in the hospital. Weren’t they special? Think about it, how did they become a trophy to flaunt? And can you not undo that?
In our Indian culture, parents are gods. But not literally. They are humans as well. Your child is a human, yes. He or she will make mistakes, yes. They will get hurt, yes. You can’t prevent all the hurt. The kangaroo can’t carry the baby in its pocket all its life.
You are a human, dear parent. That’s why, in spite of all your experience and age, there are still chances that you are going wrong somewhere. Listen to your child. Try to find out what’s bothering them. Notice. Listen. Give it a serious thought.