And I have forgiven you, too


Being able to forgive your parents. It’s a strange notion, is it not? Especially in a culture where parents are hailed as gods. 
But so many of us carry hurts, pains, and grudges against our parents, for what they did or did not do. We will not say them out loud because we are expected to love and worship them. Perhaps we will not accept this even to ourselves, for that would make you us ungrateful offspring. In the same way that any expression of ‘reluctance’ on the part of the mother makes her an ungrateful woman. 
And yet, strange though it may sound, it is possible to love someone while having a hundred complaints against them. It is possible for someone to love you, and still hurt you badly. In the end, everyone is human. Parents are humans who are doing the best they can- and yet, and yet, there is a lot to forgive your parents for. 
For not understanding you. For not giving you the space to open up to them. For being emotionally distant. For being controlling. For constantly comparing you to others. For constantly exercising authority, for trying to make you what they wanted you to be without understanding what you wanted to be. For not understanding your dreams and ambitions.
Oh yes, there is quite a lot, sometimes, to forgive your parents for. 
And when that happens, when you are able to forgive them, you liberate yourself from the bonds of generational oppression. 
When we acknowledge the mistakes of our parents, we are able to prevent ourselves from replicating those mistakes with our own children. And we are able to see ourselves as humans, not gods. Very often, traditional parents suffer from the God Complex: the idea that the parent is always right. That as a mother or father, I can never do anything wrong. No, that’s not true. We all stumble, we all fail. The important thing is to learn and evolve. 
By accepting the fallibility of our parents, we accept our own fallibility as parents, too. And once we have done that, we can ask forgiveness from our own children. For everything that we did that hurt them, for everything that we did not do when we should have. That is how we learn to do better. 
I learnt this first from you, our mother. That a parent can say sorry, that a parent can say thank you. That a parent can learn from her children, and that a parent can be wrong as well. You did not present yourself as the mother who was always right, and if you realised you were not, you openly accepted it. From you we learnt that there is no shame in accepting our mistakes and that the elder can learn from the younger as well. 
My son seems to have learnt this instinctively – perhaps children learn by watching, or perhaps all children have that instinct until it is crushed out of them.  Little H came to me one day, after we had a little tiff, and said: Mummy aapne mujhe maaf kar diya? 
Mummy, have you forgiven me? 
I chuckled and nodded, I had forgotten by then what I was angry with him for.  
And then with sweet innocence he said the thing that gave me pause: Maine bhi aap ko maaf kar diya. I have forgiven you, too. 
What a lovely boy you are, dearest H. You may not know it yet, but your heart is filled with wisdom. May you find it in that heart to forgive the mistakes of your parents, and may you never pass them on to the ones that you care for. 

3 thoughts on “And I have forgiven you, too

  1. Excellent articulation! Indeed parents are human beings and can make mistakes too. As a parent, we need to accept our mistakes and learn to apologise when required. Children follow what they see and experience.

    Liked by 1 person

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