While both my daughters have been the apple of my eyes and in their initial years I have been a home-maker so that I could keep my eyes on them at all times, there comes a time when every bird has to take her first flight. For my younger one Aarnavi, it came this year in April when she joined her boarding school in Gwalior. While the mental preparation, conversations and acclimatizing began almost a year prior, the real effect of the decision was only felt when she took the final plunge.
This decision was taken after a lot of anticipation and brainstorming, given to the fact that in my capacity as a teacher I could analyse my daughter’s behaviours objectively. Being in a city like Delhi, studying in international progressive schools, her approach towards life was more experimental and risk taking. However, being the youngest in the family with having witnessed almost negligent amount of self-work, involvement in daily chores, cultural differences as opposed to my elder daughter who was born in Germany and happened to spend quite some time there before multiples moves in India. I started to re-think on the ‘easy way’ of life I was giving Aarnavi. where in everything was at her beck and call with minimum effort from her side. In my observations as a mother and teacher both I felt , Aarnavi could use some discipline, independence and routine in her life to structure it given her interests in sports, reading, oration and socializing. The two major parameters for my considerations were distance and repute. Talking about distance, I could shortlist several given their proximity to Delhi and for the final factor which was repute I spoke to several alumnus and teachers of different boarding schools. Once my search was over, my next step was to prepare Aarnavi to make the big move. While I had prepared myself for a lot of resistance, to my surprise, hearing the blend of early morning sports, activity clubs, staying in a new city and making new friends only geared up my little one to prepare for entrances.
Upon clearing entrances and looking at the schedules and budget we made our choice and took a short trip to do the formalities and explore the city. While my daughter was delighted to see the ambience of the school we did get some time to meet some locals who explained us more about the city. On our journey back home, Aarnavi was full of enthusiasm and stocked up with so many details she could not wait to give her sister and friends.
As the final day came closer, we had received a detailed list of things that she had to carry and required to do upon arrival. While the huge halls of the boarding were full of children and the hustle bustle of excitement, I saw my little girl standing tall experiencing emotions and situations that she had never ever done before so confidently. The ride back home was not an easy one as both me and my husband were teary eyed but what gave us strength and motivation was the smile on her face as she joined her troop.
As the days passed, in her limited time on the phone calls I did hear her mumble about the food, missing home, not getting to watch enough TV which did start worrying me. On a couple of occasions I think I even sensed her holding back her tears and talking with a choked throat which made me weak. But as the days went by her calls were now full of new stories and achievements, which started comforting me.
Her stay this summer at home made me realize that my decision was so right for her as she started valuing the home cooked meals, she could built her routine for each day, she took responsibility of all her homework and most importantly valued being home. All in all I think I have a fighter in the making currently enveloped as an angel.
Educationist by profession, mother of two teen daughters