Thursday, May 13, 2010

For My Son and His Wife

My son is getting married the day after tomorrow. He is marrying a woman with beauty, intelligence and a warm heart. It is an honor to welcome her into the family.

The first time one of my children got married, I was surprised by the way the event touched me. I expected, of course, to be proud and happy. But in my mind, the day was all about them. I was not one of the stars of the show. I was there in a supporting role, to give my blessing and wish them well.

And yet, as I looked around the room at the reception, I saw that the day was about me, too. I had a connection to all those people - many of whom I had known for a long time. Each face was connected with stories from my life, my journey from young woman to mother-of-the-groom. I felt a quiet celebration inside myself, grateful for all those relationships and all that had come before to bring us to that happy day.

Today I was thinking about the upcoming wedding, and one of my first thoughts was of this poem by Kahlil Gibran. It contains the best advice on parenting I ever received. I like to think that at least some of the time I was clear-minded enough to make use of it. But whether I was or not, one fact remains: my son is an amazing young man. To him and his beautiful bride, I send my congratulations, my blessings, and my love.

On Children

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.