Sunday, April 28, 2013

Your children are not your children

On Children
Kahlil Gibran

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 heard this a month ago, recited while a class of 14 year olds performed with their teacher. It brought tears to my eyes. I have heard it before at a dedication for a new baby, but then I didn't yet have grown children of my own. Adult children.

All the times people told me, warned me, to enjoy my children, because they grow up so fast, went unheeded. Now I find myself telling others. They grow up so fast. They grow up and they are gone. I find myself weeping, silently at times, sobbing loudly at others.

I think about myself as an adult and how infrequently I thought of, or contacted my mother. It is the nature of growing up. To grow up and grow away. It is what is supposed to happen. There is still a thread, a bond, a connection, but it is different now. Adults lead adult lives. They are on their own path. Still, I miss them.

I miss having morning coffee with them, running errards, watching movies. I miss their company. They are both funny, interesting, intelligent, compassionate individuals. They are both socially conscious and striving to find their way in their world and to make a difference. Even if they weren't my children, I would want to spend time with them.

But they are thousands of miles away. Being adults. They are grown up.

And it is ok that I am sad sometimes. Nobody has to fix it. It just is. And it will not last forever. It will be ok in the end. If it's not ok, it's not the end.

"For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday."


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