The month of May being dedicated to motherhood and a milestone achievement when my daughter was conferred a degree, brings much emotion and pride. Being the eldest granddaughter and having a daughter accomplish such a coup brought together three generations of women in a celebratory, grand fashion at the Durban City Hall.
Having been at the hall many times for my daughters traditional and contemporary dance annual celebrations, we were adept at parking at the Royal Hotel and cutting across the foyer to head to the hall. This day was no different except that we were hours early due to mis-communication which brought us to the elegant hotel for a light lunch, another treat in itself.
The graduation brought together parents from the community and children we had seen morph into young adults. Seeing the graduants assembled and literally waiting for their lives to change with that essential piece of paper brought pride and emotion.
Having already secured an internship and with work underway, I faced every parent’s nightmare, possible relocation. How does one send a child to foreign shores, away from the nest?
How does one intimate advice to generations far more savvier than us? Not as an avalanche for sure but perhaps as follows for future living :
- Make your own bed every day.
- Dream big, develop your plan, then get to work to make it happen.
- It’s okay to cry or wail when you’re hurt. Just remember to wash your face, clean your mess, and get up off the floor when you’re done. You don’t belong down there.
- Do not swear in public.
- Seek out the people and places that resonate with your soul.
- A little make-up is better than a lot of make-up. Just accentuate your beauty.
- You are in charge of your happiness.
- Success is yours for the taking. Not everybody is going to be happy and excited about your success, keep your standards high.
- Know when to be less sugar, and more spice, and only as nice as you’re able to be without compromising yourself.
- Be your own hero.
- Smile with your heart first.
- Never walk through a dark alley alone.
- Never lie to yourself.
- Your body, your rules. Just because you have it, does not mean that you have to use it.
- If you have an opinion, you’d better know why.
- Practice your passions. You have many gifts. Use them wisely.
- Mind your manners. Always.
- Siestas are good.
- Self-love, self-care, it all starts with you.
- Question everything, except your own womanly spiritual intuition.
- Give your mother-in-law a chance. You have her precious son.
- Say what you mean and mean what you say.
- No one will ever love you more than God your parents will.
- Be kind; treat others how you would like them to treat you.
- Never turn down a breath mint.
- Invest in yourself, pay yourself first every month.
- Mind the debt trap.
- Travel light. Keep available money on hand separately from your wallet.
- Invest in friendships, friends are the bacon bits in the salad bowl of life.
- The world is starving for female leadership. Lead on.
- Zero tolerance for any abuse, in any form, from your partner.
- Those who gossip to you will gossip about you.
- Not everyone is your friend.
- You will be judged by the company you keep.
- Never accept an unsolicited drink or leave one unattended.
- Choose your battles wisely.
- Find a mentor. Be one.
- Twice carefully over your choice of tattoo.
- Buy that dress. Not sure of the colour, buy both.
- Remember the sunscreen.
- Its okay to get take out.
- Feed your soul.
- Find your tribe, there is strength in numbers.
- Living alone is a good thing,
- You have enough. You are enough. Never let it be said otherwise.
- No matter where you are, you can always come home.
- Send your parents tickets to you.
- Be happy and remember your roots, family is EVERYTHING.
- If in doubt about yourself, remember whose daughter you are and straighten your queen crown.
- You are loved.
Others may regard empty nesting as a sign of success but I expect a heavy lashing of loss and grief who one who has been my champion and my best friend. Gone are the days of college holidays, road trips, shopping and silent conversations peppered with knowing nods. No more chick flicks and loud laughter, there will be no one to begin or end my conversations. Having had all the family get togethers, dramas, estrangement and tight knit bonding as those having trodden that painful path, I mentally book mark the days, the last holidays, get-togethers. Granted, I have become selfish with our family times.
Sure, there will be skype and whatsapp calls but having my favourite human away from me, across the miles, will cut deeply.
I remember the end of my marriage ceremony. It was time to see the bride go. My Dad was nowhere to be found, having done the necessary, obligatory “meet and greet” of the bridal couple. How he must have hurt.
Whilst this is by no means the same, I shall try for dignity and stoic but I imagine my heart will be breaking yet again. Injustice for sure. This is to be my reward for all my hard work and sacrifice?
Despite the advice, my daughter will have to fall back on the way she has been raised, with love, honour and dignity, amongst others.
No easy task to send off a child into the unknown. One can only trust, believe and walk in faith.