I don’t like to do anything wrong. I’m the first born daughter in an Asian family so the worst thing I can do is anything wrong. I have high expectations of myself in many areas, but none surpass what I believe I ‘must do’ as a mom.
My dad tells me my problem is I over-analyze things. He says I think too much about the consequences of my actions or inactions towards my kids. As much as it kills me to admit this, he may be right. I tend to get lost among the trees and forget I’m in a beautiful forest. I forget that I am actually a PART of something and not the thing upon which EVERYTHING rests.
I always fall back upon the words of Khalil Gibran in his epic poem, The Prophet, that actually lifts that burden for 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.
I mean, isn’t that just awesome? I am not responsible for every. single. thing.
I have a job to do, yes. But it’s really not unreasonable. It’s challenging and rewarding and surprising and amazing. But I don’t need superhero powers to get through this. The big take-home message for me in this poem is that there’s only so much of their path that I intersect. Only so much I have control over. And whew – that is a bit of a relief, I must say.
I will do my best, but sometimes my best is just giving it up to God. And probably teaching my kids to do that, by example, is a tool I can give them for when they leave my bow.
Yesterday, things got a bit much for me. So many changes this week and everything’s kind of happening at once. My son is now joining his big sister at elementary school, and my littlest has started daycare part time. Again, I imagined the weight of every decision on my shoulders. I imagined my kids years from now in fabricated scenarios based on decisions I could make at this moment. In other words, I forgot about the Archer.
Later in the evening, just before bedtime, the kids and I sat on the living room floor. All 3 of them were literally dog-piling me and just lovin’ on me. It was totally what I needed – and I am sure they did too. No matter how much we all crave routine, the 5 of us are cut from the same cloth. We’d rather be doing nothing with each other, and yesterday’s back to school endeavour felt like an intrusion on that.
At one point, my youngest was on my lap, my son was in front of me to my left, and my daughter was in front of me to my right. Kind of like a circle. I reached for their hands and almost instantly they both closed their eyes. I took their lead. I let a few deep breaths go by before I asked them to help me create a bubble of white light around us. I talked them through it while explaining to them what the light was and how it would always protect us and make us feel loved. No matter where we are, no matter who we are with. We are a part of this light and so is everyone else we meet. We are connected to each other and most importantly, to this light. It was just a few minutes of grounding but by the time we opened our eyes, the room felt different.
I felt different.
I remembered sitting down in the prayer hall with my kids, just the night before, to help us kick-start the school year like I did as a child with my own parents. In my heart I asked for guidance and strength to help me be the mom they needed for this new season in all of our lives. I remembered the feeling I received after asking – it was as though I was being assured that simply by being this mom, the one that I am, I am enough.
In just a few minutes, the entire weight of the day slid off my shoulders and dissolved somewhere behind me, in a moment that was now the past. And in front of me were calm, content faces.
This is a picture we took yesterday morning, before the craziness of the day set in. And we closed the day surrounded by each other like this, too. That is not lost on me. That is the magical forest in which I live.
Whatever beliefs you have about Something Else, something that goes beyond the physical, let it help you with the burdens you carry. Remembering we are a part of something instead of the one and only entity on which everything else rests can really help with the mental noise. It can help with the emotions you harbour in the cells of your body. It can just help.
And it is a beautiful thing to remember.