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The father is 80 years old today. He is still physically very active for his age, a headstrong and righteous man who leads a highly respectful life, completely on his terms. His wife is 76 years old and she is the happiness-maker of their family of 3 children, their respective families and a doting grand-mother to her grand-sons. She is calm, soft-spoken, highly considerate and compassionate and a silent yet powerful pillar of strength to the entire family. She binds everyone together and keeps them closely knitted with all her love, affection and the most authentic and yummiest food that one can ask for. They have been married for 50 years and have been with each other through all the bumpy rides that life had to offer. They did this TOGETHER with a lot of strength, resilience, collaborative efforts and most important, with a huge sense of duty and responsibility towards one another.
Their children, 2 daughters and a son are all grown-up, married with kids and well settled in their respective families leading a happy and successful life in their individual spaces. All of them love their parents deeply and care for them immensely. They have a high sense of responsibility towards their parent’s well being and can do anything to see them happy and smiling always. The children are grateful for the way their parents brought them up, provided them with the best of education, food and all other nutrients that is needed to mold them into sensible and sensitive adults . They respect their father for being a self-made man and for all the sacrifices he made to give them a beautiful life and future. They adore their mother simply for the person she is and how her personality has rubbed off the happiness elements in their lives. The father and daughters share a great relationship and rapport and that’s how it’s been all along. But, unfortunately it’s not the same in case of the father and son. Both of them have a deep disconnect at an inter-personal level and this is a result of expectation mis-match in their relationship, right from the start.
The father faced a lot of hardships and difficulties, all through his childhood and was deprived of a normal, happy childhood and had to really struggle to get himself educated and find a decent job that could jump start his life. He never knew what it meant to love and be loved and this made him very tough and bitter internally at a very young age. Destiny changed when he got married and had kids, but the scars were there and the insecurities of the future were still intact. All this led him to have some unrealistic expectations from his children, mainly in terms of their academic performance and what career paths they should choose so that they never face the same hardships that he had to face. In pursuit of bringing out the best in them, he was very unreasonable at times and wanted them to succeed as per his benchmarks. The daughters faced the brunt lesser, not because he was any less ambitious for them, but because they took it in their stride and did the best they could. The son, on the other hand was made to go through a rigorous grind to help him meet his goals and all that he craved for was some love and appreciation from his father. He did extremely well in academics and athletics and other extracurricular activities but it was never good enough for the father. He was always compared with other kids, not out of any competitiveness but because the father wanted him to be the best and nothing else. This grind and the underlying expectations that they had from each other took a toll on their relationship and it only got hardened with every passing day.
The son, eventually did extremely well and is an extremely successful individual today but he is scarred for life. He, too has very bitter memories of how he was treated by his father and all that he wanted then was his father to express his love and affection towards him. The father, on the other hand, is unable to understand the son’s point of view as he feels very strongly that what he did was purely out of the best interest for his son and all the sacrifices and hard work that he did was only out of love for his son. In all this expectation mis-match and misunderstandings between the father and son, the mother has silently and strongly withstood all this without showing any signs of favoritism or being tilted in anyone’s favor. It’s not that she didn’t try to intervene when she felt the father was being unreasonable or the amount of discussion and talks she had with her son to help him understand the father’s perspective, but it never really helped. They were both constantly at loggerheads with each other and the mother had no choice but to make peace with this situation.
It’s been over 20 years since the son is out of the nest and lives independently with his family. He is hugely successful today and is a big inspiration for young adults but he is still being judged by the father for what he could have done better with his life. On the other hand, the father, who worked relentlessly for 32 years in a very reputed MNC and is highly respected today for the man he is, can’t seem to understand where he went wrong in raising his son. Life has given them a couple of opportunities to bond really well and bury the past, but every time they are together they end up re-living some unpleasant memories of the past and this only makes things worse. Both of them know the past cannot be undone, and everyone in the family has tried their level best to mediate and resolve this but all in vain.
No spiritual teachings or any amount of reading any self-help books can help you if you don’t want to help yourself. ‘Forgive and forget ‘is a sign of strength and not of weakness and life is too short and precious to do anything other than love and be loved.
There is still hope in …..Letting Go!