I just arrived home from sharing a final dinner out with my daughter Kaitlin and her boyfriend Matt. Kaitlin got to choose where we went, and she picked this cute, urban, funky Asian diner she and I had found as a happy accident after walking from our old home in Encinitas down to Coast Highway one evening after work. Kaitlin is leaving in two days. She and Matthew decided after being born and raised in San Diego that the rest of the World was calling them and it was time to explore. They are moving to Oregon.
This is a moment for me. On one hand, it is tragic and my heart is thumping in my chest as I write this. Almost 20 years ago, I gave birth to a kicking, screaming, apple-faced baby girl. We had a tough time bonding. Two emotional females, both struggling to exert their power and position in the family. As she grew older, life changed drastically. Families split apart. Situations happened and I was now in a place where I was her advocate and her protector. As my son likes to put it sometimes, we were joined at the hip and through divorce, boyfriends, home schooling, and moving multiple times, we became best friends.
This blog is not to take away anything from the pride I feel in my son Brian. Not at all. He was first. It was he and I all alone for 5 years until Kaitlin arrived on the scene and he was my “little man”. I have watched him go to Germany twice, fall in love with a country and a people so much so that he put himself through San Diego State majoring in it. He put himself through college with no help from his parents, worked many hours and moved out on his own. Amazing. He was my first arrow.
I sit here sobbing thinking of Kaitlin being so far away. I can’t drive to her if she gets hurt. We can’t pick up and go to lunch with a phone call. We can’t split a chocolate mousse dessert like we did earlier today. She is leaving……and then in the middle of my grief I just stop crying. I breathe deep and I just stop. I just shot my second arrow.
Some time ago, I came upon a passage by Khalil Gibran and this has always stayed with me.
“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.”
These children are not my children. They are, but they are not. They are brave. They seek to find more than what has been shown to them. They have the courage and the tenacity to make it happen. I did what I was supposed to do. They are standing strong and are not afraid to find their way without me. As much as I love them, and I will miss her, as their Mom, I have won.
Good luck, Matt and Kaitlin. Take care of each other. We love you.