I just returned from my Sunday morning nature walk. The river and its early autumn foliage is a great setting to invite Gratitude Flow, which is one of my Poster Girl Habits (Habit #4: EVERYDAY RITUALS).
In the deep state of bliss that is Gratitude Flow, an image of my children popped into my head. They are 23 and 20, but this was them at more like 5 and 2, a good 18 years ago. Their beautiful faces were as fresh and crisp in my mind as thought it were yesterday. The joy I felt was replaced by an ache, a longing for THOSE little people to know THIS me, THIS Mama. I wanted to hug them, smell their hair, have them feel the depth of my freedom. That can never be. The journey flows forward, not backward.
I did not push the feelings away. I let the tears flow. I allowed a moment of mourning that those children did not feel my freedom, because I did not feel it myself. They knew the Mama that was floundering and fighting, working toward this version of herself. And it's OK.
Notably, I also didn't get mired in the feelings. I did not go into some protracted shame spiral about the better job I might have done or how my kids might be even more awesome than they are (they really are!). Let the feelings come, and let them go.
I accept reality. I trust the process. I am Unmired, and I flow on.
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.