Separation Anxiety

The countdown begins, and it is slowly sinking in. Our little girl is now a lady and she’s all set to try her wings and fly away from the nest.

To say that she is our rock is a definite understatement. To characterize our relationship as just close is incorrect. To conclude that I will be alright when she leaves is total crap! I won’t, and neither will her dad…that’s for sure!

The last twenty years was bliss, the last eighteen was a blast!

It’s cliché for mothers to say that the moment their child was born is the happiest day of her life. But I’d still say it  and add that our little one’s birth was the beginning of a more meaningful lives for me and my husband. Each day with her was an adventure, each adventure … a memory that will last forever.

One day, we were browsing through kids shows/movies and it made me happy to note that she went through interesting phases of intelligent watching — from Miffy to Dora the Explorer, Blues Clues to Mother Goose, Barney to Bugs Bunny, Scooby-doo, Powerpuff Girls, Sylvester and Tweety, Dexter’s Laboratory, a range of Disney Princesses, the Smurfs, the Simpsons, the Flintstones … before graduating to Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and then to Raven …. those and more of the likes of Victoria, The Crown, Downton Abbey and other classics.  These shows moulded her into the person she is now – mild mannered, respectful, polite, humble, helpful, and most importantly — a young woman who is not afraid to speak up when she feels the need to, and is courteous to anyone irrespective of race, color, or religion.

The same goes for the book she read — from her 20-volume Time-Life Kids Series to her collection of Dr Seuss, her stack of Amar Chitra Katha to her assembly of Betty and Veronica. From her spy books to her range of Diary of Whimpy Kids, piles of Harry Potter to Games of Thrones, Series of Unfortunate Events, to a more serious Jean Sasson line-up, and now her series of Philosophy, Politics, and Religion! Amazing list I must say. This makes me feel embarrassed that my teenage reading list was mainly made up of Danielle Steele’s and Sydney Sheldon’s.

Just like the shows she watched and the books she read, my little one has evolved. From the little   girl I coached for her first fancy dress and oratorical competition at 6 (where she played Mother Goose and won the grand prize from over more than 50 participants from different schools in the city), to the inquisitive 9-year-old who gave our tour guide in Cairo a run for her money, to the teenage vanity queen who owns every possible shade of lipstick, lip gloss, lip tint, lip liner … she has morphed into the smart young lady who is now ready to spread her wings and conquer her dreams.

A few more days before she leaves for university and her dad and I are already down with separation anxiety. A disorder that every parent goes through when their child leaves for university. I know we are not alone here. Many of our friends went through this, and some are still yet to recover. It’s not easy to let go of our precious little angels. It’s not easy to let go of a part of ourselves. But, a big part of loving is letting go … and allowing them to explore the world and prosper — intellectually, socially, emotionally, and spiritually.

To our little one, fly high … touch the sky! Mom and dad will always be behind you, not matter what. I know you know that .





“He’s also eighteen now, Mom!” My little one is referring to Teddy, the Paddington Bear we bought for her at Singapore’s Changi Airport where we transited during her very first flight. She was six months old then. She has had Teddy ever since and she will never sleep without him by her side. He took trips with her, he played with her, he cycled with her, he read with her, he got acquainted with her friends, he became part of the family.

I remember once, when she was around five, we visited my mother-in-law’s house for Diwali celebrations. Playing firecrackers with her cousins, she safely kept Teddy tucked in her Patti’s bed. As we left, we all forgot about Teddy. Closer to home, we got a frantic call from my brother-in-law (who knew how important Teddy is to my little one) informing us about the mishap. Without wasting a minute, my husband turned the car and traveled back the 10-km distance to collect Teddy, past-midnight!

Stitching the hole-filled hat of Teddy, sweet memories of her childhood came flooding by. Pictures of her clutching Teddy in her arms came like flashbulbs. She wouldn’t exchange him for a nice Minnie doll at Disneyland, she wouldn’t give him up for a fluffy Hello Kitty from Sanrio Puroland, she refused to let go of him when offered a nice big bear from Hamleys, and she wouldn’t even exchange him for a much newer version of Paddington Bear we saw at Harrods.

Today, Teddy is showing signs of aging. After having traveled to several countries, moved cities, changed schools, tossed in the washing machine and tumbled in the dryer several times, fallen from the car, pitched like a ball … the thread on his signature red hat is giving way. I tried mending them but I can only do so much. My husband went in search of a toy maker to repair it, but my little one said no. She said there is nothing like the original.

As she packs before leaving for university, Teddy is first on the list. As he awaits his turn to go into the suitcase, I told my little one how old he is and maybe it’s time for him to retire. “We can always stop by Paddington (an area within the City of Westminster, in central London) to buy a new one,” and she was upset! “How could you even say that Mom!” So there goes raggedy Teddy … ready to take on university life.

Teddy was, is, and will always be part of her. And as I leave her room … I thank him for being the sibling she never had, a friend he always is, and a cuddly buddy …our little Teddy! This S$26 endearing Paddington Bear gave our baby and the entire family … priceless memories!