Yesterday my son went on his first roller coaster ride (he’s three).
But he really wanted to go! So off he went.
I remember a friend years ago describing the process of raising her three boys. “Every day, a greater separation.” Oh no! I thought. Does it have to be that way?
As I reflect on the joy I feel with each potty-training triumph, and the sense of wonder I feel at the greater depth of exploring stories together, with both my children, and their increasingly poignant questions and thoughts about concepts of life and death, I feel a combination of awe, sorrow and gratitude.
To me, each day brings a deepening of connection.
Relationships are living things. We’re all continually evolving.
Every day of raising my children brings a releasing of dependency. They need me less and less. Less for survival, now, and more for guidance and support. There’s a sense of rightness to this release, a sense of deepening into friendship – a relationship between unique individuals who have their own path to walk.
In Yoga, this letting go is called Ishvarapranidana.
Do I feel sad to know I can’t be there and share each step of their path? Of course. Watching my son ride the roller coaster, I felt my heart in my throat. But I also felt a sense of pride in his courage, and an overwhelming sense of support for his unique adventure, which I can share, from afar.
Each day brings a new chapter in this evolution.
I’m reminded of this beautiful poem by Kahlil Gibran:
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.
I feel so grateful for each day with my children, and the glimpses they give me into the house of tomorrow. And I will be with them there, in my thoughts, and in my prayers and dreams. And so may it be for you, too, and for all of us.