The next evolutionary step for humankind is to move from man to kind…!

Recently came across a note by friends in social media saying, women who don’t change their last name after marriage – is a sign of women empowerment.

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I see women having their own opinion on that note and I feel that itself is a great achievement that they made a choice, they have an opinion – some did change because they like it that way for what so ever reason – may be the culture they grew up with, or be part of their husband’s family and the belonging aspect of it etc. But having changed the last name or not, the truth is does that makes anyone liberated? I mean I have seen women without changing their last name after marriage and yet have not empowered to make any family decisions or even make a decision for themselves when it comes to career or any other choices.

“Some guys will want to change everything about you. But the right guy will not want to change one thing your last name.”

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Are we dwelling on the right thing when we say ‘women empowerment’? I am not sure but for these name change and not change things and the identity through those actions… because I feel irrespective of what your name is – whether the name and surname is from your maiden family? Or your name is given by your parents and surname is from your husband’s family? Or your first name and last name is given to you by your husband’s family during the marriage as part of the tradition?

“He stole my heart and I am planning for revenge. I am going to steal his last name!”

In my opinion nothing gives you an identity other than what you do and establish yourself as with your thoughts and actions. Believe it or not, I often say to friends when they ask me if I am Usha, Dawn, Fiza and my response to them is – what’s in the name?

“We cannot despair of humanity, since we ourselves are human beings.”

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Yes, what is in the name? I feel specially with the Indian culture and tradition when you see a name your mind opens into – the person is from which religion, caste, language, state and what not. Is this is what you’re defining as your identity? Then hell no!!! I don’t need such identity because I want to be known as a human first and not tied to any religion, caste, state, language or anything such things that divides the human race. I am sure if we were named as numbers because names cause these kinds of issues, still we would come up with who’s the top most and who’s not and would start discriminating based on that.

I have been treated so well the moment people came to know which place I come from and the state, some have treated me so well when they came to know I am Fiza, I got many friend requests and appreciations from Muslim friends, similarly many have asked me if I have married a white guy since I have my name as Usha Dawn – I mean c’mon!!! And to another extent the Dawn is referred as Dhawan and some south Indians they call me north Indian very proudly… I feel sorry for them!

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If people cannot connect with you or your identity without your last name, then it’s better not to connect because it will be a rough pathway.

“Humanity should be our race. Love should be our religion.”

Let’s be human first because that’s what we became as part of evolution and we have not been successful in doing a good job on that itself and we created so many barriers for ourselves in the name of caste, creed, culture, religion and what not!!!

“Find the sweetness in your own heart, then you may find the sweetness in every heart” ~ Rumi

~ Dawn

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But man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated..!

Growing up as a Malayalee or in short most of our north Indian friends used to call us mallus – Kerala has always been our vacation home.
Every summer vacation it used to be at granny’s place in Kerala and have enjoyed the love of not only our relatives but also the neighbors and the people who used to visit home probably to help plucking coconuts from the tree or so. Everyone used to love us and would pamper us just because we were not from there. For us everything was a surprise or a miracle. When my Mom used to make ball to play cricket with the help of coconut leaves, initially we used to make fun saying you can’t play with it but when you really have nothing else to do we used to play cricket – that same ball made out of coconut leaves and the bat used to be the dried thick stem from the coconut tree and life was beautiful.

You climb the nature made steps to go from one layer of land to the other on this hills and you will see cashew trees, jack-fruit trees and just greenery everywhere. Mother nature has been kind in this part of the south and probably that’s the reason people call it’s God’s Own Country.

Believe me when I used to visit my Mom’s side in Tiruvalla its a mix of Hindu and Christian population and they live happily. I have never heard anytime people discriminating anyone. In fact, most of my Christian malayalee neighbors whenever they made beef, biriyani, or rice cake they have always shared with us, even though they know my Mom won’t eat meat they knew kids and Dad would eat.

Similarly on the north of Kerala my Dad’s side Malaparam district where the population is a mix of Hindu and Muslim and they live happily. I have always heard from my Dad great things about his Muslim friends as how true they are to their words.
I have learned one thing people love each other and spread love through food and what’s wrong if it’s beef or chicken or fish? If one likes it they eat it and if they don’t then they don’t. There is nothing that religion comes in picture and even then everyone with different faiths in religion would go to their respective temples, church and mosques and pray.

“Love the world as your own self; then you can truly care for all things” ~ Lao Tzu

All this beautiful things I was enjoying this summer too. I was in Kerala visiting my parents and the heavy rains in Guruvayur was like a music to me. I remember I used to enjoy heavy rain at night because then you can sleep well – it was like music to the ears and same thing when it rained during the day, all I could do was record the music of rain drops falling fast one after the other and made some paper boats and sailed in the puddle in front of the gate. When I was leaving the place I felt it is raining as always like in the monsoon season but never thought of this  disaster that would cause so many lives of people stranded across the state.

The best of our character comes out in difficult times and it is true during this natural calamity every Keralite was united in the name of humanity and was helping each other in every possible way. It was not only about human but every life was precious and were tried to save. I feel so proud to see how everyone came together whether it was Army, Navy, Air-force, Government, Fishermen, Movie star, Common Man, yes everyone was united in helping and saving each other. Shopkeepers kept their shop open and said take what you want! That is humanity where you don’t think of any selfishness but pure heart to help and save humanity.

About 800,000 people got stranded and relocated, so many of them are missing and so many lost their lives – my heart goes out to those who have lost their loved ones and might be some in hopes to find them in some camps. It’s the time when every Keralite celebrates Onam the harvesting festival and look this natural calamity brought everyone together if not to celebrate Onam but to celebrate humanity and love.
Being from Kerala I always felt special because if you look at it Kerala is always in news with 100% literacy, with Transgenders being recruited in the government jobs and LGBTQA supportive activities and what not and all this tells us nothing keeps us apart whether its sexual orientation, religion, caste, food habits what not all that is later and one’s personal choices but what comes first is Humanity and hence everyone tried their best to overcome this crisis, but whats going to take time is to rebuild.

“Destruction, hence, like creation, is one of nature’s mandates.” ~ Marquis de Sade

Everything takes time and this will too take time but with little support and help it will be easier for those who have lost their homes. Building a house could be a dream to many and imagine losing something that you have made out of all your earned money which you just lost one day due to heavy rain… where will one go back for shelter?

“How much wreckage and destruction justifies the creation of a better world?”

Let’s think of ourselves in that situation and imagine what would we do? What would be a big relief for us at such time? If some monetary help we get then isnt that the need of the moment?
Let’s all chip in small portion of our money, something that we daily spend on buying coffee, cigarette, tobacco, chewing gums and what not if one week we skip that and give that money to help rebuild Kerala once again, we will not only give a life to those people in need but we can also visit God’s own country and enjoy vacation and see those people smile again!

I will request through my this post to every individual please give generously through Amazon for relief camps and through Kerala Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund to rebuild Kerala.
Natural calamity can happen to any country any state but all we need to do is be prepared for any such disaster.
Let’s leave all our differences and be one to help each other and rebuild Kerala.
This natural disaster has brought humanity together and this tells us united we stand and rebuild and progress.

“When we destroy something created by Man, we call it Vandalism, but when we destroy something by nature we call it progress” ~ Ed Begley Jr.

~ Dawn

You know my name, not my story. You have heard what I have done, not what I have been through!

These days I am in a conflict with mind and heart. Yes, heart would like to talk a lot with the paper which means, I would love to express my thoughts and emotions but then mind tries to manipulate – Why, unnecessarily? Let it be…keep it with you!!!

My heart, which started writing as kid because I felt my pen as my heart was spelling and sharing my views with the pages of the diary that my Dad gave it to me. That was my way to open my heart which gave me the satisfaction of expressing everything and anything and yet I have the feeling of keeping it private from everyone.

Time changed and I started blogging. One should change with time isn’t it? Moreover the way I groomed myself as a kid of 7-8 years old is by writing down everything which made my heart and mind feel very relieved, it is a way for me to relax and be calming.

I remember I used to tell my friends, ‘not to take tension but give it to others’, as a joke!

Few things that came to my mind which I felt I should write so that I get the feel that I shared it and it is out of my system!

1. Judging a person does not define who they are… It defines who you are!

If someone wants to do something for others, it’s their emotions and feelings that they share with – no one has a right to call that out by names. Because every individual has different ways to express their love and respect so be mindful when you pass your judgemental remarks. It let others to think who you are!!! Never discourage others what they want to do if they share it with you that’s because they consider you as a friend and trust you. Don’t discourage them by judging them it tells about you and not them.

2. Everyone is a Moon and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody!

People sometimes due to overconfidence behave in certain way and go too far but when they find themselves in trouble and unable to cope-up with they ask for help. Now, helping is good and when you do that with all good intentions and still if things doesn’t work out or help other to understand then it is better to show them the mirror. The person who actually came asking you for help changes immediately when they feel they’re exposed and makes the helper a fool in front of others and moves on as a hero. The helper looks like a fool!
When the helper confronts the one who came asking for help at the first place, they say he was my childhood friend and I didn’t want to lose his friendship! That’s the justification they give for their act.

One can imagine what they would do to get away with their ego and false image! Here they did this because they know the childhood friend will stop talking and will spread the rumor among all the common friends and the helper will always be there as they will not lose them – a false assumption!
I think the helper should have left them alone to deal with their problem instead of getting involved because the helper is a stranger to the childhood friend and company! One should live life on their on terms and not get involved in other’s because at the end everyone is an individual let them lead it.

3.  It’s funny how most people become who they promised they would never be!

When people desire something in life, they make all kinds of promises that they are the best and they are this and that and you trust them and get into the contract which binds you with them and establishes a relationship. Through out you have found that they are not what they promised they are instead they only act in front of you that way.
When Kamala made a mistake and she was caught it became a life-long reminder for her and hence even when she wants to say anything she is restricted because she will be pointed out of her mistakes. But I believe this doesn’t allow other party to keep making mistakes. Whether you smoke or drink is not the question. The question is did you not promise not to and still you continue as hide-and-seek and finally you come out saying this is how it is – the person can’t do anything other than thinking let them do what they want to do, why you want to attach yourself to get hurt?
Lesson is not to trust anyone with anything after all you’re human and with time you will change and you will get tired of wearing a mask all the time! You will have to come out one day so might as well be now than later!!!

4. It takes guts and humility to admit the mistakes. Admitting we’re wrong is courage, not weakness!

I believe we are human and hence we do make mistakes and that is okay. Even when you read the Indian mythological stories in Ramayana, there also Ram is portrayed as the best human being still he behaves disrespectfully with his wife Sita based on what he over heard from his laundry guy, who was hitting his wife saying I am not like our King Ram who accepted his wife even though she was living captivity with another king Ravan. Ram could have set things straight by supporting his wife and by bringing awareness to his people that being captured doesn’t mean you disown your people but he didn’t do that, instead he did what he felt his people in the kingdom would appreciate – the question is, if it was Ram and Sita had to decide will she even think of disowning him? I doubt because women are raised always with the thought that Men can do anything and it’s okay but Women are like a white cloth even a little stain would make it look ugly and hence throw it away!
Mistakes are okay and accepting the mistakes saying, yes I cheated and that is wrong on my part and I am ready to accept any punishment for that. It’s humbling and learning experience for anyone though it is hurtful in heart forever for everyone. Similarly, if other person has done a mistake in indulging with something and dealing with until it became a problem for them to handle then at least one should have the guts to accept that they did that mistake. In fact, they call out other people’s wrong deed and shine themselves. A little sunshine in your eyes can blind your eyesight for a moment, watch out everyone doesn’t have to be that high and famous all time, even the Sun who is so powerful with its heat and light has to set at the end of the day – you’re human and be the one that you preach to all!

This time the trip to India gave some time to read some useful books which enlightens your thought process through mythological stories. And relating it with the present situations, stories and scenarios it helped to understand that, life is simple and one need to keep it light and simple!

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new”

~ Dawn

A Bart ride one afternoon…!

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This afternoon for some reason instead of taking Uber I decided to take Bart.

When you are not used to public transport for long time, it can freak you out. I was making sure I am getting into the right train and then when I did get into one, I made sure I am sitting at a seat which is near the door and was constantly looking at the window to check which station it is.

“Time goes faster the more hollow it is. Lives with no meaning go straight past you, like trains that don’t stop at your station.” ~ Carlos Ruiz Zafon

I had been a heavy user of public transport when I was in Toronto, Canada and to tell you the truth I enjoyed it even though the initial radar of alertness was always there about your surroundings but that I don’t look at as inexperience. I rather feel one should be cautious about their surroundings always.

“You can’t understand a city without using its public transportation system.” ~ Erol Ozan

Bart, I always have heard negative things whether it’s about the issues with the riders or with the train itself. All these thoughts were going through my mind but being positive as my habit I enjoyed the ride. Few people were getting off as their destination arrived and the train was getting empty or rather it was getting more spacious.

I saw three kids – I can say because there was a boy who could be of 4- 5 years old and he was being referred as Chris. Chris was getting bored and restless and one can see that because the other two people (boy and a girl) who looked as if they are a couple but very young may be around 18-19 years old and I don’t know their names. Chris was so restless that he started lying down on the seat and later on the floor of the train and I wondered why he is doing like that and how come the couple doesn’t say anything to him.

As I was thinking about it, the girl started calling him, Chris, get up why are you being like this? And the boy had no response.

After long time Chris got up and sat on the seat and I was in between busy looking at the name of the station as the train stopped.

“The easiest way to meet people is to just look like someone who is willing to listen” ~ Robert Brault

The girl who was sitting with her boyfriend, looking at me she said, Ma’am are you a therapist by any chance?

I looked at her and smiled and said, ‘Why? You need help for Chris?

She smiled back at me as if nodding yes!

I looked at Chris who was turning his back to me and looking at his mother (by now I heard the conversation where she said you are not listening to your mom).

In a friendly way, I said – Chris, want to be my friend? Give me hi-five!

The mother or the girl as I referred above, said Chris see the lady wants to be your friend. At this, Chris got shy and he started hiding his face.

By that time the boy who was sitting next to Chris’s mother said, why you taking help from strangers?

The girl/mother replied, well you’re not helping me either, so I asked for help at least it will keep him away from misbehaving.

It just took me to think, teenage lovers and probably became mother and all these responsibilities. I felt bad for Chris, because he needed someone who can understand him and probably spend time with him.

“Sometimes the greatest adventure is simply a conversation.” ~ Amadeus Wolfe

I wish I could do something, but I cannot. As the train stopped at my destination, I got up from my seat and waved at Chris, saying Bye Chris, take care.

The mother/girl, immediately asked Chris to say – bye! He was still shy and instead the mother said – Bye lady and you have a great day and thank you!

I smiled back waving at her saying you too!

I reached home and shared the story with my daughter because she is 19 years old and I shared how I felt for that girl and her child.

Sometimes, kids are not kids anymore and those who are kids they don’t get to be kids anymore!!! ~ Dawn

~ Dawn

Alone you can do so little; together we can do so much ;)

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Thoughts have been going around in mind since the world cup season started but then I couldn’t find time to jot it down.

Besides engaging myself at work, these days giving time to read. Reading is like spending time to reflect and I am sure those who write would agree with me that it is important to reflect and read because that helps 😊.

Having said all of that, my main topic is about the game. Indeed, last time I was cheering for Brazil, Spain and then we all know what happened. But hey, that didn’t let me lose hope this year I cheered for Brazil and I wished for Argentina to make it to the finals and play opposite to Brazil, I did support Spain and with all that has happened I did support Croatia and was really happy to see they won the match against England.

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I have friends all over the world and the beauty about this so called ‘diversity’ is that you change jobs, you meet new people from different parts of the world and it’s an engaging experience. I have so many friends from England and felt sorry to see their reaction when they asked me ‘Why Croatia?’

Yes, it is hard to justify anyone when you are not from one of those countries who is participating in the world cup. I feel I am above all those barriers. To me its people and as I watch and read about these players my support and cheer goes to those and main reason to be with Croatia is because of the captain of the team Modric. I sincerely felt that match they should win because of their performance on the field.

“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up” ~ Babe Ruth

Anyway, I was more here to share my thoughts in the form of poetry, when I thought of soccer and golf:

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Happen to be a fan of soccer as a kid and played in the rain too

Eleven players on a rectangular field with spherical ball

Run and chase around without touching the ball with hands,

Only to put the ball in the oppositions goal to score a point,

You use your feet to strike or pass the ball around,

When you make a goal against the opposite team,

Depending who scored highest will win,

If they are equal, then it’s a draw and if not,

You get extra time to play or penalty shootout,

To make things even with your opponent,

Isn’t that something we all would like 😊,

When we are losing, or struggling an extra time can help,

Soccer the rough game we play by kicking and heading,

Running and chase to get the ball and put it in others post,

For all this one does some tricks, kick and play foul too,

Like a punishment a colorful card is given to you by referee,

What a fun game which originated as a kick ball.

The I saw this club and ball sport called Golf,

The players will use various clubs to hit the ball

Into series of holes on a Golf course in as few strokes,

This one needs usually has progressing 18 holes,

For some recreational ones have 9 holes,

Each hole on the course must have a tee box,

And putting green with actual hole or cup,

Each hole on a course is unique in specific layout,

Golf is played with lowest strokes called stroke play,

Or lowest in the entire round called match play,

Some say it originated from Romans paganica and

Some say it originated from China chuiwan or is it the

Cambuca or chaugan or kolven, wherever it originated,

The rule is to play with all fairness,

I often looked the two balls and wondered…

How two balls make the world go crazy around

Some with teeing ground and some with rectangular field

One is individual and the other is the team sport

All I know soccer is fun even if you kick one another!!!

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That reminds me the weekend is busy with finals I am excited, are you?

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships” ~ Michael Jordan

~ Dawn

The wounded recognized the wounded!

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Living in the city can be so different than from the remote villages, one can never imagine.

There is no electricity in the house at night, oil lamps made of brass is used and nature at such times is so quiet and dark that one can only be speechless. The cricket noise and sometimes you will hear the noise in the grass which could be of a snake who is finding its way to you.

All that is scary and adventurous especially when you are visiting during school vacation.

“A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in” ~ Robert Orben

The little girl Asha, who is only 5-6 years old is scared of all these creatures be it snake, insects because some of these ones she has never seen in the city and the variety of spiders you get to see in the rain-forest areas, and their names are more or less the knowledge that she takes from here to her school to share with her friends.

Life in the middle of greenery can be happy until one morning she saw some rashes on her hand. It looked like a rash on the skin which if broken can spill the water and be infectious. She ran to show this to her mom.

Asha: Mom, look …look what happened here? Its red and I feel like itching, but I am scared.

Mom looks at it and talks to her sister (Aunt) Leena.

When Aunt Leena looks at it her immediate reaction –  oh this is spider poison. This is easy to cure once we show her to the village spider physician who practices Ayurveda medicine.

Mom is not much impressed as she doesn’t know if that will help Asha.

However, they plan to take her to the spider related issues treating physician.

Asha along with Aunt Leena goes to see the Ayurveda physician.

The physician of course was an elderly person with grey hair, unshaven slight gray beard with aged grayish eyes, skinny staring at Asha. Asha got scared at first and she hesitated to be in front of him, so she stayed behind her Aunt Leena.

Aunt Leena gave the details and pulled Asha with her hand to show the rashes.

The physician holds the hand and checks with holding his glasses and says yes this is spider bite and I can give her some medicine for which she needs to take shower and come in a towel. This seemed like Ayurveda with some magic.

Asha was scared and whispered to her aunt, ‘you also come I am scared to go alone’!

Aunt Leena said, ‘you should be fine he is going to treat you and give medicine’.

Now, Asha goes to this place where it’s all covered with coconut leaves as a shed and she goes in there with a towel wrapped and finds this physician is waiting for her.

Asha as always cautious and nervous in front of strangers, sat there as the physician asked her to do so. He started chanting some mantras and as he was chanting his hands were touching Asha on her head, shoulder and then her stomach and below when Asha got uncomfortable and started crying to raise her voice enough to be heard, because at this time she feels she is all alone.

The physician gives a stern look at Asha with his grey eyes and splashes some water and then lets her go.

“One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them” ~ Aldous Huxley

Asha is all scared and comes home with her aunt Leena and the moment she gets in the house she runs to her mom and holds her and starts crying.

Asha’s mom asks what happened, what did the physician say?

By now Asha stops crying and tells everything in detail that happened to her.

Asha’s mom gets furious, and she goes out of the room scolding her elder sister Leena,

“Is this how they treat here? I thought he is a respectable man in the community and this is how he treats small kids?”

Aunt Leena when she heard the story, got so angry that she straight went to the physician immediately without thinking for a second time and broke that treatment shed and called off his son to stop this business. She yelled at them saying, “I will let everyone know in this village what you do and how you treat people”.

By saying that she broke the shed and walked out of the place.

That was the day and the spider treating physician’s business was never seen or heard ever. After that incident his shop was closed forever. Asha felt that spider is less scary than the physician. She still can see his face and that picture of the shed where she was sitting and the physician sitting in front of her staring in to her eyes.

“Childhood should be carefree, playing in the sun; not living a nightmare in the darkness of the soul.” ~ Dave Pelzer

We always respect people who are elderly and hence people wouldn’t talk openly about such molestation and abuse that might be still happening around the world. It’s still a taboo and many places it’s the elderly age that inhibits to expose them because they fear what other might say or think about them.

“She is still a prisoner of her childhood; attempting to create a new life, she re encounters the trauma” ~ Judith Lewis Herman

We should be able to share things with our near and dear ones otherwise there is no use of calling loved ones anymore.

If loved ones are the one who are taking these kids, then they need to be extra careful no matter how well you know the person.

Protect your kids from these vicious animals because this puts a life-long impact in the minds of these children who are molested, the spider bite can always be cured but the mental trauma is something that keeps haunting.

“If the sound of happy children is grating on your ears, I don’t think it’s the children who need to be adjusted.” ~ Stefan Molyneux

~ Dawn

They should tell you when you’re born: have a suitcase heart, be ready to travel…

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This morning I read Shweta Nanda’s article on empty nest. I applaud her to acknowledge something like this and not shy away because of the celebrity status quo.

Some of her call outs in the article made me think that may be for homemakers sometimes it’s more difficult than the women who have career outside. Homemakers focus, and dedication is all around the home and associated with it and hence when kids go away the void is bigger than what the working women can feel and that is because working women share some space with outside world whether it be with work and with colleagues and friends.

“You will never achieve what you are capable of if you’re too attached to things you’re supposed to let go of.”

Homemakers have to start from the scratch and that itself is a change which could be challenging, one can feel that more in the article.

I also read in her article about “life is flawed, there is no such thing as a soulmate and nothing lasts forever is so empowering.”

This statement made me a bit sad or should I say I still want to believe there is something called soulmate and yes when nest is empty one can plan life with their soulmate, it could be traveling, a peaceful walk/hike or even spending time together doing similar tastes of hobbies. But given that kids have gone and now your partner is also not there then definitely its individual choice that one needs to make and for a working woman she may have many options by choosing a job which gives more travel opportunity or travel to different country and work there as long as you want to stay there and move on to next and so on.

But yes, when you hear nothing lasts forever that kind of gives you freedom and hence it is empowering.

“We have nothing that is really our own; we hold everything as a loan.” ~ Nicolas Poussin

All this tells me is process for detachment and this doesn’t have to be until the kids leaves the nest. It can start early by teaching your kids to be independent early enough to manage their own things with parental guidance.

I often think of those moments where kids will go away, and my heart should not cry or depend on them. Of course, as a mother you will always care for the well-being of your children but when children have left then we should allow them to lead their life the way they want as by now we have raised an adult who will make the decision that is appropriate for them at least.

Basically, it ends up with a task completion of raising kids and let them fly and we move on with another task which should be nourish yourself that gives more happiness and contentment in life.

“If you depend on others to make your dream come true, it may not ever happen.” ~ Dawn

~ Dawn