My 18-Year-old Man is Graduating from High School!

Aabhas with me at Graduation Party

My Man Aabhas!

I address you as ‘man’ because today you are officially one, and it’s time for you to call it quits to staying at home. But it’s all good because I know that you leave on the journey of life. Yes, it’s a phase every parent hears of – a kid ready to move out to college, but the gravity of it never fully registers until it’s your own turn. Luckily for your mother and me, Ishi is still at home.

              To love is to risk pain, but this is a pain that every parent must bear with joy, for we want nothing more than for you to achieve your dreams and live a life of endless possibilities. Thank God for video calls and aircrafts – we know you will be a phone call or a short journey away. I can now imagine the horror my parents must have felt two decades ago when I told them of my plans to leave the country and move to the U.S.

              Aabhas, you have been my sounding board for some time, my person that I turn to for sage advice. I will miss your presence at home incredibly, and I hope we can somehow manage to keep up with our heart-to-heart chats because I value your opinion.

              Yes, the celebration this evening is all about you. But I want to take a minute to thank our friends and family who have gathered here tonight to participate in our joy.

              As you stand at this critical and colorful juncture of your life, I don’t want to load you with any fatherly advice.  Not because I don’t want to, but I know you are more than capable of handling whatever curveball comes your way. Aabhas, you have far exceeded our expectations as a son and continue to blossom every day as a human being.

              Watching you fills our hearts with immense pride and delight. In fact, people are asking us, how did you raise such a wonderfully balanced son. And all we can say is that Aabhas, it’s been all you. Your hard work, perseverance, creativity, and zest for life have gotten you here today. And I am confident these qualities will help you soar higher and achieve whatever goals you set for yourself.

              I have learned so much from you, and I am sure I will continue to do as you become a man of the world. You are already a master strategist.  I admire your ability to manage stress and make time for things you are passionate about, including robotics and deejaying in equal measure! Even though you have different passions, you are simply focused and determined to do one thing at a time. That is a fantastic trait, and I will try to imbibe this in my life.

              Another facet of your personality I find remarkable is your ability to connect with people and market yourself. You establish fruitful connections basis video conversations, even if you haven’t met that person. I think this ability will help you prosper in a highly digitized world.

              So, Aabhas, you are well equipped for taking flight. You do whatever you want to do and do not worry about the rest. Harness your capabilities and dreams to the fullest.

Your Mom, sister, and I will be the wind beneath your wings when you need us.

              I will only share one secret, and that’s about your grandfather, who left us in 2015.  He may be physically gone, but I feel his presence in our lives every day. I see him living through your aspirations and acts. I feel him around me whenever I talk to you.

             You are the next-generation family sapling that is on the verge of becoming a fully bloomed tree. We love you, beta, and hope that as you grow, you never forget the roots that have forged you with incredible love and protection. Remember the source of your strengths regardless of your successes in life.

Aabhas with his favorite mentors Dan and Mr Olson

Here is a Hindi Poem I wrote for you which invoke my emotions.

मेरे घर के किसी आँगन में एक पौधा

कब से बड़ा हो रहा हे ।।

देखो इसकी शाख़ पे आज एक फूल आया हे!

इसकी ख़ुशबू में माँ की ममता, ओर सिर पे पिता का साया हे

और इसकी जड़ों को एक छोटी बहन के प्यार ने सींचा हे ।।

पिछले १८ सालों में हमको शायद खबर ही नहीं हुई की

कब इसकी शाख़ें घनी होनी लगी ओर देखते ही देखते तना मज़बूत हो गया हे ।

पीपल के पेड़ की तरह यह अब दूसरों को छाँव देने लगा हे ।

कभी कभी तो इसकी कुछ टहनियाँ आसमान को छूती नज़र आती हे ।

यह इन शाख़ों के पत्तों पर चल कर ना जाने कहा पहुँचना चाहता हे ।

मेरे घर के एक आँगन में यह पोधा कब पेड़ बन गया हे ।

पर इसको यह अहसास अब भी नहीं हे!

मासूम सी हँसी ओर आने वाले कल के थपेड़ों से बेपरवाह

वो अपने कंधो पे पूरे जमाने का बोझ लेने को तैयार हे ।

उसको career की आपाधापी में इस बात का भी इल्म नहीं हे की

इसके माँ बाप क्या इससे बिछड़ने के लिए तैयार हे ?

में जब भी कभी कपड़े iron करूँगा तो शायद उस घटरी में तुम्हारे कपड़ों को मिस करूँगा ।

अब तुम्हारी माँ खाने के वक्त मुझसे पहले तुम्हारी प्लेट शायद नहीं लगाएगी।

उसे अब यह भी चिंता नहीं होगी की आज नाश्ते में तुम्हारे लिए क्या बनाऊँ।

इशी अब किससे झगड़ा करेंगी ओर हम से किसकी शिकायत करेगी ।

हमें पता हे कि अब तुम अपने सपनो को पूरा करने की चाह में इस घर से अपने परों पे उड़ कर चले जाओगे ।

सिर्फ़ एक वादा करते जाना जिस पेड़ की जड़ों को हमने हर दिन सींचा हे

उन्हें ज़रूर दिन में एक बार याद कर लेना

ओर फ़ेसटाइम पे नहीं तो WhatsApp पर एक विडीओ कॉल कर लेना ।।

Jain Family at the party

English Translations of the poem

A sapling in the backyard of my house has been growing.

Its roots nurtured by mother’s love shadowed with fatherly protection and watered with the love of a younger sister.

Unbeknownst to us, over the last 18 years, the sapling grew strong branches and a robust trunk (body)

Like a Ficus tree, the sapling now offers shade to others.

It looks as though some of its branches are touching the sky.

One doesn’t know where the leaves (of the tree) aspire to reach.

A sapling in the backyard of my house has been growing.

But it is still unaware.

Carrying an innocent smile, regardless of the blows tomorrow may bring, it is willing to take on the weight of the world on his shoulders.

As the sapling progresses towards the career-building chaos, is it aware whether its parents are ready to separate?

Whenever I will iron clothes, I will miss seeing your clothes in the bunch.

Your mother will no longer lay your plate first on the dinner table.

I will no longer worry about what breakfast to make for you.

Who will Ishi fight with or complain about?

We know you take flight from this home to fulfill your dreams.

All we ask is that you remember us at least once a day.

If not Facetime, then do make a WhatsApp video call.

Hindi poetry personal letters

Kunal Jain View All →

Made in India, Serving Humanity, Living in Safety Harbor Florida, USA. Healthcare Entrepreneur. Author ”A Philanthropist Without Money” Driven by an inherent desire for knowledge and creative thinking, I harnessed my “Mid Life” energies to becoming a student again, challenging myself to take an executive course in ‘Global Healthcare Innovation’ from Harvard Business School and a Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship from the University of South Florida. Not satisfied with personal success alone, now I’m on a mission to help other aspiring entrepreneurs through mentoring, nurturing, raising funding, and connecting people with more possibilities.

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