Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The future of parenting

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.
Kalil Gibran

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.


Mary B said...

That post made me choke up. My littlest one (seven) is still cuddly and tells me that will buy a house next door to me and eat lunch with mommy forever.

If only...

Carol Kabat said...

My middle girl came home with one of those precious handmade Mothers' Day cards. In it, she tried to describe my qualities to her classmates. She wrote "My mom knows everything, but not boring things." The day comes when she figures out that I don't know jack. Still, I'm keeping the card.

Jamie said...

Nice. Me too.

Pink Ink said...

My boy (who is 10) is like yours, too. Very sweet still and likes to tell me he loves me. May they stay sweet for a long, long time :-)

-Pink Ink of AW