Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Flying the Nest

I’m sitting here in a foreign land , thousands of miles away from my home and  country and as my  fingers are flying over the keyboard, tears are rolling down my cheeks and my heart is filled with a sense of déjà vu , of sadness , of apprehension .

The reason is my sister, my baby sister, the last of the siblings , is flying from the nest today .  No matter how old she gets, she will always be the baby of the family. She is leaving the comfort, the security, the love of my parents – to venture into the unknown. She will be moving to a totally new city , 15 hours away from my home , into the life of independent living, of hostels , roommates and fun .  She is full of mixed emotions, but is more leaning towards excitement and the prospect of adventure .

I wonder what it is like for the parents. They work hard all their lives, saving , scraping money , sacrificing luxuries and  vacations  to bring up their kids , feed them , clothe them, educate them and one day , one by one , the kids start flying away . I know this is the circle of life , but it sure is heartbreaking . Boy, did anyone ever warn me that parenting could be so tough ? Or have I only realized it now that I’m older?

So here we have the family – Parents sad, grandparents in tears, Bro happy because sister will not be landing on his doorstep and he wouldn’t have to babysit her all through her Master’s degree J   .   And me , the big sister,  sitting here pining away. “Are you crazy”, she asks me? “How can you be sadder than I am because I’m leaving home” ?

How can I explain to her that the world is a big big place? That there are unkind people out there? How can I explain how difficult it is keep your head and chin up constantly, when you don’t have the security of your family to fall back on all the time? How can I tell her that she may get her heart broken, she might trust too easily , she may  get hurt too soon , she could have her ambitions trampled upon ? I don’t want to tell her these things because this is something we all have to go through . We all have to learn and live this cycle.

And then she‘ll magically realize that the world is a big beautiful place. For every unkind person you meet, you‘ll meet a  100  good people. She’ll  make great, new wonderful friends  and will form friendships that last a lifetime . She will know that your roommate or housemate could be the greatest asset that  you have in a strange city .  That your messy , untidy hostel room ,with clothes strewn around , books everywhere ,  with the packets of pot noodles , instant soups – will be your home away from home . She will visit new places on a budget  , learn new things, open up her mind and heart to this big beautiful planet. She’ll learn that no matter what happens, the family will always be there  for her, rooting for her.

That the circle of life , if we are fortunate enough , is always complete. That the empty nest will one day , be filled magically  with the cries of new life .