Day 7 | A few thoughts on motherhood

I am now and have always been a thinker and a ponderer, both a curse and a blessing. I love reading words with meaning, oomph, and power. Words that stop you in your tracks and bring up something inside, that makes you look at something differently or in a new light. Words that make you exclaim “yes! this!” as it all becomes clear. Kahlil Gibran’s On Children does that just – “Aha” moments on my role as a mother. . . .

On Children
by 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.

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I especially love the last part:

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.

I often see my role as a mother as singular, to prepare my children so that they can function in their own lives out in the world, as emotionally stable, happy, and healthy adults. We try our best to prepare them and then send them forth. What they do beyond that on their path into the infinite is up to them. That truth is humbling yet also slightly terrifying. Letting them go, giving them freedom to grow and learn and form their own thoughts and opinions, watching them make choices, fingers crossed that they choose the way you would want them to choose. . . though reminding yourself they are not you and you are not them. “Your children are not your children. . . . They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you yet they belong not to you.” Coen is only 5.5 and in kindergarten. I can only slightly imagine what it will be like to truly watch him grow, spread his wings and travel his path. When really, all I want to do is wrap my arms around him, my chin resting gently on the top of his head, and keep him close forever.

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Ps. This photo was taken on Coen’s first day of Kindergarten. Baby steps, right? Maybe it will be easier by the time he’s 18 and off to college?

janeneJanuary 8, 2015 - 5:51 am

i don’t believe it ever really gets easier. maybe when/if we’re grandparents? probably not… beautiful thoughts. i also like Gibran’s On Marriage if you haven’t checked that out yet!

PatriciaJanuary 8, 2015 - 2:08 pm

That is one handsome arrow you’ve got there! The Prophet is my favorite book of all time. I find the concept freeing, as if any parenting mistake I may make will not be of great consequence. Thanks for sharing.

Jessica friendJanuary 10, 2015 - 6:50 am

love this!