I parked my scooter and was unloading two heavy bags full of fruits and vegetables; I was about to lift them and my 21 year old son Rugved entered the building gate. Even after 21 years my heart fills up with joy when I see him and with a huge grin I waited there without feeling any heaviness in those two bags. He swiftly came ahead to pick them up but suddenly a thought rushed inside me and I nodded and told him it's ok. He knew well and when his eyes met mine he conveyed a lot and he softly patted me and asked me to leave those bags. I obeyed him like a child listening to his parents and followed him with my mind with huge burden of thoughts. Tears started rolling on my cheeks and my mind just slipped into memories of the past. When Rugved was 4 years old his father had given him a small wallet and I used to keep some coins inside which used to make him feel happy. My husband generally used to be out on a project for days together so me and Rugved was a team for all the daily chores. He used to be following me when I used to buy vegetables in the market and wait for some items which used to cost 1,2 rupees, then he used to remind me - "mom I have that much money, wait , I will pay". Oh Boy! He used to feel so proud to take out that wallet from his back pocket and pay money to the vegetable seller, I still remember his satisfied expressions and then he used to look at me with an assuring smile. At that tender age of 4 he wanted to be mom's support, he wanted to be man of the house. My tears were not ready to stop and so also the memories. I remembered when he fell down from the scooter and had an injury just adjacent to his left eye. My hand used to shiver when I had to put some drops in his eyes and apply ointment on the wound. He knew that even when he was just 3 years old. He never cried, afraid of seeing me in pain and preferred tolerating on his own. He asked me to put the drop when he was looking away knowing it was impossible for me to do it while looking into his eyes. He always made me wonder if I was his strength or he was mine. He has been my strongest emotional support so far and has shared all my pains with a great maturity. I know he is a confident, independent young man now waving at me for he has decided to move ahead in his life, and this time without me. He is planning to go abroad for higher education, but my heart is not ready to let that quiet, quirky, sensitive little boy go away. Between me and Rugved many a times I have been his peer enjoying joking and fooling around with him, but then I am back to being mom which I enjoy the most apart from this letting go business. I really wonder why putting my hands around his broad shoulder and chatting with him for hours is so much easier than releasing him? I have brought him up so that he is strong enough to face this world outside, I am sure about his strong roots and values then why am I not really happy with the thought that it's time for some breather. Why I want this little tadpole to be kept safely inside the net and not allow him to be out? Letting Go - it's difficult but a must for every mother, I had to leave him to fall in order to make him walk, I am trying to recall now - what made me think I could now leave him on floor for the first independent walk? And how did I really manage to teach him cross the road? It was lot more difficult, my tiny little child when stood close to footpath raring to show his mom waiting anxiously in balcony that he can yes he did, he did cross the road following all my instructions but that journey of two minutes was like one life time for me, but I knew I had to and I did. My husband taught him to ride bicycle at quite an early age, but when he asked me the permission to go out on road, how did I allow him for the first time? What made me think that all the people on the road are going to be gentle and he will come back unscratched. No I was ready for the bruises and I just knew I had to-I did. He was preparing for his 18 day long trip for a skiing camp, and I was worried as a mother as he never stayed so long away from me and he was fifteen then, "I can handle it, Mom," he said. "If something goes wrong, I'll figure out what needs to be done and I'll do it. This isn't a big deal." I knew he was right; I was the one who was clinging to the idea of being with him. When he came back he thanked me for that opportunity as he had enjoyed his freedom and discovered for the first time that he could make strangers his friends and that made him feel liberated. I knew this "letting go" part gave me lot of sleepless nights but the difference in his personality was evident and worth all the pain that I went through. When a woman gives birth to a child the child is helpless and completely dependent on her, she has to feed him, clothe him, make sure he gets adequate sleep, she teaches him to run, write, talk, sing .. the child grows and learns to cross the road safely, cycle safely, now the mother knows she needs to hover less and less and she needs to grant independence to the child gradually. She does that too. But in teenage they get into the high speed gear mode and rush towards their adulthood, the mother who was responsible for giving birth to child and protecting is suddenly expected to sit in the rocking chair with her hands folded. Yes I am a proud mother knowing her son is responsible and strong enough to handle the real world, but perhaps I am a slow learner and I just want this world around me to understand and help me for the same. I once read that one of the results of giving birth is that for the rest of her life a woman lives with her heart walking around outside her body. It's true. The thought of parting from Rugved cuts me into half and wonder am I squeezing tightly when I am supposed to relax my grip? For weeks I am trying to prepare myself for that moment knowing there are far more emotions surrounding his leaving than I could handle in one brief exit scene. And I have read about these 'Empty nest syndrome' but I feel the name itself is painful as you tend to underline the resultant emptiness but actually you are trying to plant your bush in better climatic condition, better soil so that it blossoms and I think this thought will make any mother feel happier and satisfied. I have now realized that this journey of parenting is an ongoing lesson of letting go when our kids gain strength and courage you need to release them slowly for their further journey to be absorbed in the outside world. The river has to flow we cannot hold it back or turn around, you can enjoy the splashes though.