I feel myself drawing more and more inward.
I remember a conversation I had years ago when our oldest was about 7 or 8. The mother of a friend of hers and I were talking about our long drive to Colorado. She has 4 kids and I have 2. Our youngest was 3 or 4 and we used to pack the car and drive all night. The girls would sleep and we would get to the ranch at around 10 am. If it was summer and the weather held. Anyway she said to me, “Don’t you just love it when you are all in the car together? I love it when it is just us and we are in a cocoon driving and it is all quiet.”
I love our cocoon.
The four of us get along really well. The girls are good travelers and we have been all over the world and the country with them. They have flown to New Zealand (at 3 and 7) to France ( 5 and 9) England (6 and 10) and Ireland(10 and 14) as far as the long trips go. They have been caught in a white out in Colorado and had to stop in Flagstaff overnight for the same reason. We have travelled through snow and ice, sun and rain and all the while they adapted. They shared a room in a hotel when they were not getting along and when they were sick with stomach flu(not the way to do Thanksgiving FYI).
Travel changes you. “No Traveler Returns.” We learn and we adapt to changing conditions, joys and disappointments.
Here we are in quarantine.
Our March and April plans were different. Oldest was going to come home and apartment hunt, youngest and I were going to look at colleges. Oldest was living in NYC studying and youngest was to have prom and grad night and graduation. We were supposed to be separated with the exception of a week in March and a day in April. Family time was not to be had until summer. Plans change.
We have been together since March 12 and we are all grateful. Our oldest came home from NYC and we all were sick. Not to the same degree and not at the same time.
If you have followed this blog for a bit you know I am always one to look for the bright side. I always strive for the positive, even when it seems impossible. So what is the bright side? What is the positive? What is the blessing?
The girls get to be together. Both as adults. The four year age difference was huge at some points, but not now. The oldest is so grateful to be here and we love having her. We are all co-existing in a way I didn’t know would be so easy. (I would love to have a cleaning crew come through the house to be sure, but it’s nice.) We managed, as parents, to do something we didn’t know we could: Give these two the room to have their own relationship. They do well in a crunch. They take responsibility and they help when asked. It is a lovely time. If all things were normal we wouldn’t have this time to enjoy our family time. And they wouldn’t have the time to really get to know each other again. When our oldest went to college she was gone for almost 4 years with the exception of a few weeks here or there.I just want to slow down and enjoy this time and we are getting to do just that. I am so grateful.
I have faith their relationship is strong and we began as parents with the idea that we were here to be guides. In the words of Kahlil Gibran,
” You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.”
Our youngest explained to me that my generation remembers that life was good and Americans were heroes everywhere. Her generation doesn’t have that knowledge. Life hasn’t been so easy, America is hated in some places.
So while they make the best of the world they have been given, we long for what was. They are survivors, these young people who were born with 9/11, the financial crash and the pandemic as their template. We would do well to support and encourage for they are the face of the future.
For your perusal…
Kahlil Gibran – 1883-1931
And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.
And he said:
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.
From The Prophet (Knopf, 1923). This poem is in the public domain.