Are we ready to be alone again?

This week we only have Thobo, our last born, at home. Sesi, our middle child and only daughter, is in South Africa for a week, with fellow standard fives, from her school. Our first born, Wawo, is at boarding school.

And I am thinking, this is a shadow of the fast approaching future…almost. That days are coming when this house will be devoid of familiar sounds and sights, lacking in the random uncensored questions; starved of hyper-activities and oft skinned knees and elbows. It will soon be poor of ‘telling ons’ and careless screeching cries. It will be empty, truly empty.

We will, soon, it seems, return to the beginning; to two adults looking at each, wondering, then what?

Are we ready mogatsaka?

Am I ready to free these three children? To let them into this hungry world that never says I have enough people, don’t send yours our side.

I think nothing bring the truth home, that parents are really just custodians and conduits, better than when kids leave home.

These children had to be born and be nurtured and we were only trusted to do that for the universe. For human kind. Somebody had to do it. And we have only been assigned and as with all assignments, when the work is done, it is passed on. We would thus do well to learn early, to not hold on too tight when our assignments ascend to the next stage.

Think about it. Whatever we spend our days doing, if it’s anything worth some breath, it is never solely for the benefit of our families. You are a child set free to the world you were made to serve.

We should also learn to deliver the parcels. Hard but inevitable.

Some would leave, not only our homes but our family name, adopting foreign cultures and namings. Other arrows will fly high and far, landing in places we never imagined possible.

The question I had on Monday morning, as I helped Sesi settle in the car, waiting for her papa to drop her off at school; For who are we born? Why do we have chidren?

It’s time, I realise, I embraced the bigger picture and accept that there is a much bigger reason, broader than my limited reason for having them. Sesi’s leaving highlighted my limitations in trying to explain the broadness of why this body carried them.

While the idea that my children belong to a much broader world, is kind of sad, it is also in a way, a motivation to do my best, to be deliberate in raising decent citizens – aware that they won’t be under my care and direction forever. It is an encouragement to ensure that when they finally leave my cocoon, I can confidently surrender them, pat them on the back and say, “Papa and I did our best, fly my children, fly”.

Sesi’s leaving this week, and his brother’s absence since January, put under a spotlight, on how I think about and do my parenting. It convinced me that I should broaden my methods (if there be any) – and raise children of the universe. Her leaving brought a new perspective, that my three children will inhabit in many ways, a world different from mine.

Children leave. They leave childhood, they leave home. They grow wings and wean from childhood attachments. They go away.

My daughter left Monday morning. My little girl left with others her age. The longest distance and time without her parents.

And she was anxious about a lot of things, in the run up to her going; “mama what if I need a bathroom in the middle of nowhere”
“What if I sleepwalk into the bush”
“What if…?”

What will keep us sane when these three have gone to boarding schools and universities. Will we not crowd out each other. Where will we take the attention that used to go to the three. Are we ready to be alone again mogatsaka?

“Like arrows in a hand of a mighty worrier, so are children of one’s youth….”

19 thoughts on “Are we ready to be alone again?

  1. One can only wonder. But it’s a good question to ask of ourselves. The only solace is, human are dynamics, they, like fluids, will fill up the void. For nature hates a vacuum.

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  2. This is a beautiful piece…. It does however brings back my fears… It brings forth the question that my wife and I avoid all the time…. Thanks for the boldness ma

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  3. Not always easy..many of us have to eventually face the empty nest! But we can still do something about it! We are amazing creatures entrusted with an amazing life!
    Thanx for sharing this reality!

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  4. Parenting style is one the things that might ease your worry in letting them fly but not prepare you for their absence. I worry that the modern day parent protects children too much and then unleash them to a very cruel and unforgiving world in their twenties, hoping for them to survive in a world they don’t know. Kids need to be exposed to the ills of our society in teachings and telling them our realities so they grow up knowing that’s it’s a jungle outside your wings.

    As for parents being ready, well, perhaps you should start drawing plans of holiday destinations you plan to visit when they are gone and Business which might keep you busy because you will need to continue being passionate about life and give that attention to something else without necessarily replacing the kids. Or, and I know you will never agree to this one, consider a retirement child like other families.

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    1. Ha ha ha! A retirement child? Noooooo! I’ll probably spend days writing and volunteering. Oops! I do not even have the ‘ability’ to have a child.

      Yes I think we over protect our kids, we make them live an unreal world. But then its often difficult to know the ‘how to’ expose them to the real world.

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  5. Great read. Letting go of one’ kids it’s the hardest thing a parent can do. Its the harsh world we release them to that makes it more difficult. We often wonder if their wings are strong enough for them to navigate the storms they will encounter. All that’s left is for us to do the best to prepare them for the universe

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  6. Our reality! Time flies very fast and we are usually engrossed in those routines with our kids forgetting ourselves along the way. Yep we then have to retrace our steps once our kids are off the nest and work on new hobbies or what we used to enjoy as couples before they came…some work there!…but has to be done

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    1. And I wonder whether the retracing is possible. Do parents ever return to ‘normalcy’? Or we then spend years wondering how to fill the gap.
      Maybe we need to broaden how we think about retirement and include dealing with a return to an empty nest

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  7. Lovely read Oesi. I guess this makes me think about being more intentional about giving our children roots and wings. The roots I am referring to are those of Colossians 2:7 ; and the wings as in Isaiah 40:31.

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    1. Thanks for reading Rasayi. Yes to do our best and trust that they will face the world with confidence, when the time finally comes. We trust God of this journey, for the wisdom.

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