My little speech when my little girl turned 21, and my little video, archiving on my blog. Apparently, these little things make most parents cry. Here’s hoping that some children also might find them touching. And give their parents a call, perhaps?
If I have learned one thing in the last 25 years or so, it is this: Never go right after or right before Kavita when it comes to public speaking. The comparison is never going to be good for me. 🙂
But that lesson notwithstanding, this day is special, and I will take one for the daughter this time. Let me start by wishing my daughter, Anita of the house Thulasidas, the first of her name, a very happy birthday, and a year full of wonder and happiness ahead. Today marks your transition to adulthood, with all the independence and responsibilities that it entails. Yeah, it sucks, but you are going to love it. 🙂
At this point, the father is probably supposed to recount cute stories. I have a nice video to do that. I made it for Anita when she turned 16, but as every year passes, it seems more and more appropriate. I will show it later.
As you know, I am educator now. So I educate; I pontificate; I profess. I would like to share a few words on parenting, for the young parents here, or those who plan to be, later in life. Parenting is a balancing act, an almost impossible one. You have to love your child, but not spoil them. You have to provide for them, which means work and time away from them, and you have to find the right balance. You have to foster the right values and character in them, which means strictness. Otherwise they may grow up unprepared into an unforgiving world. But not too much, or you will be robbing them of their childhood as well.
Of all these lessons of parenting, the hardest is this one right here. Your child will one day grow up, take wing and fly away. From your home, from your life. I did it. So has Anita. So will Neil. When that time comes, you will hold the door open for them, and step aside. If they don’t step out, you will have to kick them out. But when they leave, emptiness and pain will follow, through which you will smile. You will hope that, in time, your pride in their accomplishments will fill the void, assuage the pain, and bind and heal the cuts in your soul. I know it did for my father. So, if you do it right, when the time for this hard lesson comes in their life, at the very least, your children will remember you.
And you will hope that they will find their way back home. To your life. Someday. Again, I did it. So you will keep the door open, and leave the light on. And wait. And wait.
But today is not about the parent. It’s about the child. The child who as turned into a beautiful, intelligent, articulate, multi-talented and independent young woman. Lucky that you took after your mother, isn’t it? I just want to tell my little girl – how proud I am of you, and how much I love you. Though you think you already know…