Wednesday, June 18, 2014

He is His Own

Khalil Gibran said it long before I ever did. As a fifteen-year-old Honors English student, I certainly didn't understand it, but as a thirty-three-year-old parent, I'm starting to:

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,
Ant though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

When Ari first arrived in this world, I was nearly all he needed. His mouth was open, hungry and ready for milk.  I nursed him, and he seemed mine alone. Of course, I knew this wasn't true. He is my husband's. He is his grandparents', he is his aunts, he is God's, and he is his own.

My job as a parent is not to raise a child who learns to love only me or relies on me alone for comfort. It is my responsibility to raise an independent child who can contribute to the world in a meaningful way.  I'm only at the beginning of stages of this lifelong process of releasing my son into the world. I want to hug him and kiss him and keep him mine, but already his needs are starting to change.

"Mommy away."

"Mommy top it."

"Ari do it."

These three sentences, with "top" clearly meaning stop, frequently exit my son's mouth.  Often, they are followed by, "Mommy heeeelllp," but he gives it the old college try on his own first. I love that about him. He tries a few things first before asking for help. 

He's usually building a truck or a train, and the help he needs is very specific. The Lego needs to go just right there or it's all wrong and clearly I don't understand anything. I can hear the doors slamming during the adolescent years already, but that's another story for another day. With a sigh, he'll tell me where to put the Lego, "No, turn around. Spin around. Okay," waiting patiently for me to get it.  The picture makes sense in his mind, why can't it make sense in mine?

It's moments like that when I so realize not only that he's not me, but that he is fully and entirely his own.  He has different thoughts, different plans, different visions. I might not have put the Lego truck together that way, but it's not my Lego truck.  

Just as it's starting to sink in for me, I think he's starting along this path, as well.

It started with daycare pick up.  I would walk in. He would run into my arms, and he would pat me on the back, "Hi, Mommy. Mommy. Mommy. My Mommy."  There are people in the world who are his.

Then, a few days ago, he was proudly sitting in a chair - not a highchair mind you, but a real chair.  He patted his chest. "Ari.  My Ari."  

Yep, buddy. You are yours, and may you always remember that.  

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