It’s a bright, sunny day here in the Pacific Northwest, and I have an hour before I have to pick up my kids from school. I promised myself that I would clean my perpetually messy house during this hour of solitude. But God had other plans.
I’ve been thinking a lot about one of my children. We hit a rift a while back and haven’t spoken since. I remember being that way with my own mother. I didn’t realize until I was in my twenties and became a mother myself how much I must have hurt her.
So I come home, walk in the door, take a quick survey of the mess, and burst into tears. A swirl of thought flood my brain. I’m so tired of this mess. I miss my child. There are chips all over the floor I just swept. I’m so tired. I miss my child.
Then, I look up from where I’m sitting and see love notes written by my youngest daughter that she stuck to the window. “I love you, mom.” “I love James.” “Kiana and Mom.”
More tears. Ugly tears. There is love here if I just look up. My fridge- COVERED in pictures drawn by little hands in crayon, marker, paint just for me. “I love you, mommy” written on each and every one.
Your Children are Not Your Children
I am reminded of something I once heard: “We do not own our children; they are only lent to us for a while.” Poet Kahlil Gibran puts it this way:
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.
My job then, is to love my children while I can. To teach them right from wrong, morals and values. Teach them to love God, take care of themselves, and help others. But, no matter how hard I try, I cannot keep them if they choose to leave.
Most of us grow up and stay connected to our parents on some level. It’s just human nature. But some choose to disconnect for one reason or another, and we have to let go. As moms, we never truly let go. We still pray, hurt, and cry for our children. We still want the best for them, worry about them, and love them right into old age. They will forever be our children.
But all along, they were never truly ours, they belong to God. He gave them to us, and He is their true Father. I will forever be grateful for the four, amazing children He gave me, and I only hope to raise them well.