Leaving the Nest One Day

Rosa Martinez

Cuban junior high students.

HAVANA TIMES – A few days ago, my younger daughter (my loyal companion) and I wanted to visit some very dear friends of ours. Vain as she is, she decided to put on one of her best outfits; but she had quite a surprise when she took them out one by one and discovered that almost nothing fit her anymore: if it wasn’t short, it was tight; she just didn’t fit into any of her clothes, even into a pair of sandals.

“I told you days ago,” she said to me annoyed, “but you thought I was just being over the top.”

Anyone might that think that Tania grew overnight, but we know full well that the same thing happens to all our children: one day they are wearing diapers that need to changed every three seconds and the next day, they’re hunting down the latest jeans in fashion to go to a party.

While my daughter was crying because she didn’t know what to wear for the visit that we had planned with so much care (she knows how hard it is to buy clothes here in Cuba), I thought about all the times I held her close to my chest, when she weighed just a few pounds.

While she carried on going on and on, because she was both shocked and annoyed that she didn’t fit into a pair of ripped trousers that a family friend had brought from I don’t know what country, or a Supreme jumper that her father had bought for her a couple of months ago, I looked at her long body, some curves poking through, looking more and more like a woman.

Between her being upset because she thought the world was going to end (she still doesn’t understand that the outside isn’t what’s most important) and my memories of her when she was really little, I remembered Magicas Princesas, one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard, which continues to move me even though I’ve listened to it hundreds of times. And that’s because, like Jesus Adrian, the singer of that song, I also have two wonderful daughters, who will fly off and leave home one day…

The emotions and passions that are stirred when we watch our children grow are incredible.

When they are tiny little people who would fit into a little cardboard box, we want them to grow up quickly so they can be more and more independent, and we can have a bit more time to ourselves. We believe that it’ll be centuries before they are teenagers or adults…

And then, when your daughter falls in love, starts working, becomes independent in every way possible, you want to wind the clock back to keep her under your wing, without the looming danger of an interfering boyfriend, a fussy boss, a demanding job and then children that will do the same to her that she did to you, using up every last second of your time.

All parents spend years, half a lifetime, preparing ourselves for the moment our children leave home to start their own lives…

Even though I still have a few more years before this happens, as my eldest daughter is only 15 still, the idea of separating from them still haunts me.

I keep asking myself whether I was a good mother, whether I’ve been a good example, whether I’ve been kind, whether I’ve taught them enough, whether I’ve instilled in them moral values, whether I’ve disciplined them too much, whether I can do anything to keep hold of them.

The youngest, the one that still depends a great deal on me, who still wants to go out with me, watch TV with me… is so tall, so independent, and I just want to ask the hands on the clock to stop, for her wings to take a little longer to come out, because I’m not ready to see her fly off just yet.

Rosa Martínez

Rosa Martinez: I am another Havana Times contributing writer, university professor and mother of two beautiful and spoiled girls, who are my greatest joy. My favorite passions are reading and to write and thanks to HT I’ve been able to satisfy the second. I hope my posts contribute towards a more inclusive and more just Cuba. I hope that someday I can show my face along with each of my posts, without the fear that they will call me a traitor, because I’m not one.

2 thoughts on “Leaving the Nest One Day

  • May 23, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    It’s true. Life is so ephemeral. I too have a daughter of the same age, my only child, and I am preoccupied with spending every minute I can with her. Childhood is so short in retrospect.

  • May 21, 2019 at 3:13 pm

    I understand your concerns Rosa – I too have daughters. In Cuba it is however difficult to leave the nest unless it is to move into the home of parents of a partner. The shortage of accommodation compels two, three or even four generations to live usually in such a small space.

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