On the Children

Many thoughts these days about family and kids leaving the nest.  I am down to one, the last of four, living at home.  It’s freeing in many ways, but with unexpected emotions zinging around.  I could not be prouder of them.  They survived their upbringing.  They have taken life on and made it their own.  There is always the tinge of knowing I didn’t do enough, made too many mistakes, that it is too late to fix anything.    I happened upon this poem.  It helps.

On the Children 

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.

Kahlil Gibran

10 thoughts on “On the Children

  1. I am done to one at home but she is out so often is seems like I have 1/4 of a child left. I feel sad about it. Bittersweet may be a better word. I am a little surprised that they turned out as well as they did. I give the credit to my parents who had just as much a part of raising them as I did.
    Thanks for the poem. Rona. The last few weeks I have been a little blue around the whole ’empty nest’ thing. I am going to print it out and put it in my book of my most favourite poems and quotes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Ronna. I absolutely identify with the first part of the poem. When they’re little and it sure seems like they’re absolutely yours, it’s hard to avoid having thoughts that there will always be that closeness. But in the end that’s just a side issue to the main goal of helping provide them with the best start you’re capable of offering. Nevertheless it looks like you’ll be able to hold on to a great deal of that closeness for a good long time to come. Good for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this poem, it speaks to the depth of a mother’s love & longing. Long before they leave the nest though, the relationship changes. I have 2 boys–one is 16 & the other is 4. My 16 year old of course is still with me, but his future draws him away. As he slips away, I second guess my mothering mistakes, my blunders & wonder if I had a do over, if I could actually achieve perfection in child rearing. My 4 year old reminds me that I still make mistakes in parenting 🙂 Thank you for writing to the very heart of what it means to be a loving and yes, imperfect Mama.


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