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.