|My love, my daughter and her fiance, my son and middle daughter (L to R)|
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
I love the words of Kahlil Gibran, such wise and truthful words. This July our family was able to spend some cherished time together. It gets harder with every year as they don't all live near the "nest" as they once did. Whenever I am with them I can't help but look at my children, all grown up except R, and am amazed at their adult faces. Like looking at your newly born babe, I look at them. I look in their eyes and see that if they could they would tell the stories of where and what they have been doing. The hugs given, so sweet to me the hugger, to feel their bodies warmth next to mine, holding on, remembering all the hugs we have shared. They restore my motherly need to be close to my babes.
The release of our children has to be one of the hardest acts for me knowing that the years of my needing to mother / parent are waning in my lifetime. I'm grateful that I will have this gift for awhile longer with R, but the girls, they are grown ups. I want to be their good friend / mother. Someone they can count on both ways. This can be tricky for that means ones grown children need to release the thought that the parent is trying to pry or question them when really the parent is just interested in what they are doing! It also means the the grown children must perish the thought that they need parental approval for their lives / lifestyle. It means that they must get cozy with the idea that mom and dad can still not agree on all that they do or say just as they do not need to agree on everything we do or say and it still is okay.
Today I was registering R for his Junior year in High School. I was waiting for him to get his photo ID taken and noted that many of the moms were hovering and fussing with their daughter's hair while seated for the photographer. I laughed to myself and wondered why oh why they were doing this. I suppose if my daughter(s) had asked me to do this then I would but seriously I think parents need to let our kids arrange themselves for a photograph when they're teens. I'm there at the school because it is required but if it wasn't I would have R. do it all himself. In my day we went alone and did it ourselves! Some parents can't resist being the "helicopter" parent and never let their children learn on their own. I have always stayed out of my kids school work unless it was necessary for me to do so. I set guidelines for when it was the homework time and not phone call or TV time. Yes, there might have been some "why mom?!" but once it was made clear we didn't have too many issues. There are far more important tasks in parenting and lessons to learn when it comes to children and their responsibility of homework. I'd much rather lean towards the positive track and how that feels than harping on a negative.
My kids have all had their ups and downs as the years have gone by. Just like all people regardless of age or sex. We are human. Trusting ones intuition when you come from a consistent, supportive upbringing will come to them even if it didn't when it should have. We learn sometimes by error and that isn't always so bad. Perhaps because I married young and my Love and I became parents young we never had to go through the phases that many young adults seem to go through these days. We had no choice but to make a living to support the family and home. Well, okay, I was a stay at home mom, but I darn tooting worked hard at my home job! I never doubted my ability to care for home and family, I just did it. So I wasn't the greatest cook, well I certainly could keep the home tidy and the clothes clean. I could keep my kids for the most part happy and entertain them with trips to the park, plenty of paper and crayons, songs to sing or listen to, and most of all love. I found my "perfect career", mothering. I'm a good wife too. Love my man, my friend. I hope my girls and son someday find their perfect soul mate. Yes, my first born daughter has....and soon a wedding...
In the words of Emily Dickenson ~
That love is all there is
Is all we know of love