Wednesday, September 21, 2011

On Children

This poem, by the one and only Kahlil Gibran, is on my mind today:

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.

Last weekend, Dylan spent the better part of his first soccer game crying over an unfortunate collision that occurred in the beginning of the game between another player and himself.  Don't worry, he wasn't hurt, he just liked telling the story to everyone and each time he did, he starting crying again.

This was funny to a point and then, it wasn't.

As I watched him run off the field {again} to tell his Uncle Jeff about "the green team hitting his head" it hit me that he was so busy seeking attention for his non-injury that he was missing the game.

Ever since that day I've found myself wondering why it is that my child was the only one crying on the sideline?  As I lay in bed the other night pondering Dylan's soccer game tears I realized why I found it unsettling:  it was what I used to do.

I recognized the behavior because I was just like that as a little girl.  And, suddenly, I was awash with worry and fear.  My life mistakes and misdoings and regrets flooded over me and I was riddled with the anxiety of Dylan repeating them all.  Surely, I thought, it is rationale to assume that if Dylan and I are alike, our experiences in life will be similar, no?

As I waved good-bye to Dylan this morning, the beginning of this poem weaved it's way through my heart:

"Your children are not your children.  They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself..."

I stopped my car and took in the moment.  He is his very own person.  Not me.  His mistakes are yet to be made, but he will make them and grow from them.  A lesson in letting go.

I watched my almost four-year-old, a happy grin on his face, wave good-bye to me with all his might.  And I felt peace.

{Top image of Dylan at the beach. Bottom image of Dylan the day he started crawling.}

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