Lump In My Throat

I have been blessed.  (Some days – although few and far between –  I feel I may have been cursed.)  God, in his infinite wisdom, has granted me the blessing of being mom to two little girls.  My heart has ached for them since before they ever breathed their first breath.  I fretted about the number of fingers and toes they would have, whether they would be healthy, whether they could possibly love me as much as I love them.  Once you give birth to a baby, they start pulling away a little bit more every day.  Blink your eyes and they’re crawling, blink again and they’re walking.  It’s true what they say – “They grow up so fast!”  On one hand, you want to freeze time – hold them in that perfect place forever.  On the other hand, you can’t wait to see what they’ll do next.  Your love just grows right along with them.  The one constant – the one thing that never changes is you never stop fretting.

My mother-in-law gave me a book the Christmas before I gave birth to my first daughter – Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet”.  If you’ve never read it, it’s brilliant – but one particular quote stood out to me on the subject of children. 

Gibran wrote:

 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 our 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 try VERY HARD to remember these words.  I know now that my mother-in-law believed them with all her heart, even though she is no longer here for me to discuss them with – and I miss her desperately.  Her death, at the tender age of just 59, had a profound effect on me.  Beyond the loss of such an amazing force in my life, my husband’s life and the lives of my children – I had to come to terms with my own mortality, with the finite nature of our existence here on Earth and the limited amount of time I have to watch over my children.  I don’t want to miss a thing!

 

And yet…  there is so much I wish to shield them from.  As my oldest enters into the early awkward phase of her youth, my once divine little bow-head now more resembles a virtual stranger to me.  Practically overnight, she changed.  My daughter, who I once knew every inch of – every single fat roll on her chubby baby body – every single tickle spot on her sweet smelling skin — is growing up, up and away.  This past December, she asked me to chop off her long, beautiful locks – she wanted to donate them to Locks of Love, so another child – who had cancer and had lost their hair, would have hair.  Her gorgeous smile was suddenly transformed by the appearance of adult teeth too large for her little face.  And, as of just a few days ago, her lovely hazel eyes are now hidden behind a pair of thick rimmed glasses she proudly chose herself.  She’s in the gifted classes at school and sobs if she doesn’t make honor roll.  She uses big words and tells terrible jokes.  Her head is always in the clouds, if her nose isn’t stuck inside a book.  Who is this kid?

 

She’s my baby.  She’s also the kid I wouldn’t give the time of day to when I was not much older than she is now.  I am dying inside at the thought of another child not being able to see what an amazing creature she is – or, God forbid, hurting her in some way – ANY way.  My sister –once a sweet, cherubic child – bent and nearly broke under the weight of the ugliness spewed from the mouths of other children in her school.  She battled bulimia for years as a result.  I don’t wish to see my baby crushed that way.  It’s a lie, you know – words CAN harm you every bit as badly as sticks and stones.

 

Thankfully, somewhere along the way, my goofy sweet first-born was given a confidence level that I could never attain.  I was shy and silent at eight-years-old, and still struggle as an adult.  She is completely secure in her own skin, and man does that kid love to TALK!  I hope that never changes.  There’s a part of me that wants to warn her, that wants to tell her about all the bad things that COULD happen.  That’s where the lump in my throat comes in.  I never really understood where that term “lump in your throat” came from.  Now I know – it’s all the words you want to say, but know you shouldn’t – trapped like a knot just below your mouth and slightly above your adam’s apple.  They are words dying to come out, but wise enough to stay inside.   These words often dissolve into silent prayer – a simple wish for their happiness.  That’s how I try to send my “living arrows” forth – with a quick hug and a kiss, an “I love you” and a silent prayer.  As I drop my little girls off to school every morning, I kiss them goodbye and watch them as they are swallowed up inside the double doors of their institution of learning.  Every morning, I drive away with that damn lump in my throat.  I’m afraid it’s here to stay.

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Published in: on February 11, 2009 at 5:33 am  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. LOVE THIS. Keep up the writing you’re on your way to being an amazing, inspiring, published author.

  2. What an absolutely beautiful piece of heart-felt writing! I found your blog via UP’s blog…and how glad I am! Seriously good writing. I’ll be back soon. 🙂

    • Thank you for your kind words, Lynn! I so appreciate the fact that you took the time to write them down and share them with me. Very best wishes!


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