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.
I knew from the moment I became a mother that my children aren't mine at all. They belong to themselves so completely. And although I am responsible for their education and well-being along with Big Daddy, I know that I could not put a single thought in their heads, I could not move their hands to take mine or control the crazy curliques of their imaginations. I saw that they were entire universes where only the smallest part would be visible to me in my lifetime, like trying to count the stars in the Milky Way. But even that tiny part is so cool, it makes me smile just to think of it.
Yesterday as I was putting Conor to bed, he said, "I love you so much Mom. I'll always love you." I laughed and told him his future. "One day you won't love me. One day you will tell me you hate me and mean it." He looked stricken and said, "I would never say that!"
"It's alright," I said, "every kid says it to their parents or at least thinks it. It's part of growing up. But you know, on that day what I will say back to you?"
He braced himself for harsh words of rejection.
"I'll say, 'I love you forever' and mean it."
That kid positively glowed.