Thursday, November 4, 2010

On Children

It's my son's birthday today. That's us a few years ago at the head of the South Kaibab trail on his birthday. He was still stationed in Korea and wanted nothing more than to turn 25 in the Grand Canyon. I was so pleased that he asked me to take this back packing trip with him. It seems like only yesterday. Today he is 30.

He phoned from Afghanistan this morning. The connection was so clear that he could have been next door. Our package arrived, today, on his birthday. He had lasagne for supper. For thirty years I've asked what he wanted for his birthday supper. For thirty years it's been lasagne. The Army does not make lasagne like his mummy :-) But it was recognizably lasagne.

So much has changed since that trip to the Grand Canyon. Now he has a new family of his own. We chatted this morning about Alyssa, who is three, and pushes the boundaries in a way that only three year olds can. We chatted about strategies on how to deal with a spirited child without breaking the spirit. We chatted about the puppy that his wife and daughter are about to bring home. He told me about the beautiful watch that Tammy sent him, lovingly engraved with 'counting the time till you come home to us.'  Even though they are so far apart just a few months after they were married, they are close in their hearts and happy.

When I was a young girl I first read Kahil Gribran's poem On Children. I was seeing from the side of the child. Now I read this poem again and I am on the other side.

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 hope that in thirty years, my son will look at Alyssa and feel as much love and pride in her as I feel for him.

Happy Birthday!


peacockfairy said...

What a beautiful family! Happy Birthday to him!

Pretty Things said...

Oh that is awesome.

(Have I already told you I was stationed in Korea for three years?)

The Joy of Nesting said...

LeAnn today is the best day all year to celebrate a birthday!!! Fuuny don't you think your son turns the Big-30 on the same day that I turn 55!! :)

OH and thank you for your birhtday wish and thank you for the poem in your post. I have not thought of it in quite awhile. Mrs. Ross' daughter Pattie and her sister and brother were raised in the words of this poem. And I have strived to raise my childern in the same manner. On this day of my birthday while talking to all 3 of my kids, my love and pride for them grows ever brighter!!

Pattie ;)
Mazatlan Mx.

TesoriTrovati said...

I have tears of joy for you!
I read that poem as a young adult and loved. I have a well worn Prophet copy. You have given the world a great gift in your son. May he always know the path that is right for him to walk and may he spread joy wherever he goes. Enjoy the day!

Judy said...

Such a beautiful poem and family. I wish them many years filled with love and joy. You are such a wonderful Mom! He is lucky to have you!

stregata said...

Happy Birthday to your son, LeAnn! May his life be full of love, health and happiness.
And may he come safely home to you and his family soon.

maryharding said...

Beautiful post. Your son clearly knows that his mother is a treasure.

Barbara Lewis said...

Tears and lump in my throat ... It is all so true. How did life speed by without me realizing it? So many thoughts. Thanks for sharing your family. The engraving on you son's watch ... beautiful sentiments.

Laura Twiford said...

What a beautiful post! So heartfelt and true. Blessings on you and your family and wishes for a swift safe return of your son to his loving family.

Marsha Neal Studio (Marsha's Garden Blog, Marsha Minutella) said...

What an interesting way to look at children… It's funny because I look at my little two and wonder so much about them and what will become of them in their lives.

And I try my best to listen to them and watch them… because they are listening and looking at me as well.

Just the other day I got frustrated at something (it was one of those bad timing, wrong place things - the universal tv remote was not cooperating). Chloe - almost 3 years old now, looked at me and said: Mommy - you need to go chill out. Take a time out…

Oh, how much they pay attention and respond to emotions… I then proceeded to hand the situation & new batteries over to Dave and went into the studio for some "chill out" time.

What we can learn every day is amazing if we slow down enough to pay attention...

Alice said...

What a sweet family! Thanks so much for sharing that lovely poem. It brought tears to my eyes.

mairedodd said...

leann, this is beautiful - and i thank you for sharing those words that i had not read in a decade...
i am so glad that you spoke to him this morning - and thank you so much for sharing the stunning picture of his family... i too shed tears of joy for you all...