to the sea, beyond the sea

My grandma has a saying: with your mother – to the seashore; with your husband – across the sea.

It’s romantic.
It can be true – with some mothers and husbands and wives and situations.
It inspires me.
Especially, if a mother or a mother-to-be thinks of her motherhood this way: “I’ll take you all the way until we reach the seashore. From there, crossing it or not, is up to you, honey”. 

I love it.
It means adventure, journey, and lots to talk about, discover, and learn throughout it, together with your kids.

That’s what my mother did.
She took me all the way.
To the ocean.
And all the while she taught me stuff.
She taught me swimming. She spoke of the sharks, the riffs, the tempest, the winds.
She also told me about the good stuff out of all those, too.
She described the vast horizons and the depth of the waters;
of the various hues of blue;
of the flora and fauna;
of the ways to cross a sea;
of the choices;
of the choice that you don’t have to ever bother crossing the sea at all;
And most of all, she taught me that whatever choice I made, she would support me.

And one fine day, we reached it.
The ocean.
And she said, “I’ll be watching you from here. It’s you from here on”.

Of course, there were the annoying stages where she’d still think we’re ‘traveling’ together.
She’d give opinions, preach, and advise when advice wasn’t requested. I mean, how could she know what it’s like in ‘my waters’ to judge and speak?
Now?
Now it’s silence.
She still waves from the shore – sometimes I see her, sometimes I don’t.
She swallows it all in – whatever I do. She takes it all in and keeps sitting there, stubborn and with all might and love.
Whether I swim, whenever I dive – for a little too long, at times – she’s there on the shore, silent and quiet.
And waiting and doing her own motherly thing silently.
And it works well.

***

The second part of my grandma’s aphorism says that I’m supposed to meet a guy who’ll take me across the sea which, to many feminists, would cause tired eyebrows from too much frowning upon this second part.
But, since I still believe the saying is romantic, I’d say, yes, yes to finding that guy (or girl).
It’s nice to have a companion.
A friend.
Someone to share a stupid joke with.
Someone with whom you don’t need to finish a sentence because he/she knows what you mean.
Or, to put it even more corny – someone, to whom you “never have to say I’m sorry“.
And to calm down all the feminists, you could swim and carry the guy on your back if you want to feel better about yourself.
The point is, the trip is for two.
Who’ll paddle and who’ll navigate is quite irrelevant – both still require skills, a lot of skills, and responsibility.

The point to all this is that my cool grandma gives me an idea of how to build my own attitude when it comes to my kids.
And that is, I don’t want to think of rocking them and breastfeeding them (metaphorically) all their lives.
I’ll do my part – and get them to the seashore – but then, at some point, it’s just them on their own.
(As a matter of fact, this attitude is a good recipe for those who want to immune themselves from falling into the trap of becoming a momfia, and obsessing over raising wonderkinds and polyglots and olympic champions in ping pong or digital art.)

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