“Mama, why do you have that? Don’t you want me?” cried Aubry.
I was stunned. Not want her?
I threw my arms around her and asked her what she was talking about.
“That writing, in the frame,” Aubry said. Little tears streaked her sweet face.
I went into the family room and got the offending piece, a gift from my mom. It was in the crackled frame. It contained one of my favorite poetic essays from Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet.
“Do you mean this, sweetie?”
“Come here. Right next to me. I’m going to read this to you and then explain what it means to me. Okay?”
I didn’t get very far. As soon as I read “Your children are not your children…” Aubry stopped me.
“I don’t understand. I thought I was yours!”
“You are babe. But I believe that all of us – Daddy, Holden, Josi, Greyson, you and me – are together because of something much bigger than us. We were meant to be together.”
I found that explaining the spiritual and majestic power of the essay and how it resonated with me to my young daughter was difficult.
“So you know it but can’t see it?” she said.
“Yes; like the wind.”
“But I can feel the wind,” Aubry pointed out. (Of course I had chosen a poor example…)
“You’re right. But I feel this in my soul. It’s hard to explain.”
“But I’m yours and you love me, no matter what.”
“Yes. Forever. No matter what.”
I smiled at her and she snuggled closer.
“Do you think we’ll find more sticks tomorrow? I wish you’d let me keep it.” Apparently satisfied with my answer, Aubry was on to other topics. She was referring to the walking stick she had spotted earlier in the day.
“Maybe, but you can’t keep them. Okay?”
“Can we look for tadpoles too?”
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 our 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.