Padmaparna Ghosh writes about traveling with her Mom, recollecting her maiden trip to the US. She ends with these elegant lines on what parents have been to those of us who have been fortunate enough to be cared for and shaped by them –
I had put her through so many wildly unfamiliar experiences over the past month. I made her take her first international flight by herself (something she was terrified of), I made her figure out the airport Wi-Fi on her phone, I had sent her walking into a new city by herself and taken her hiking through snow in upstate New York. But I should have known that she would be fine because when I was a girl, it was her hand on my back that gently pushed me out into the world every time I left home.
When I was 20, my mother and I had struck a deal. She would allow me to go on a hiking trip to Ladakh by myself, and in return I would quit a ridiculous, untenable marriage that I had committed to and rein in my cavalier attitude towards my future. She threw in my 15-year-old sister into the completely unplanned holiday. Maybe she believed in the strength of numbers or hoped that my sister’s practical nature would control my recklessness. My mother’s friends were appalled. “Surely you cannot let two young girls leave,” they had cried.
To them, she had said, “They will be fine.”