For my Valentines of many years, now grown and flying high and free.
"Your children are not your children - they are the sons and daughters of life's yearning for itself" . God is the Archer, my late husband and I the Bow and string, and our children the arrows we sent into the world.
Such thinking really helps and I am glad I was cultivated to it. But ohhhhhh....those years with them idling in the quiver! And just dancing about and deployed not far and for fun only....just to be ready for when it was time and shined up and returned to their place. Those days keep me just fine and glowing whenever I tap into them!
Our children are grown and married and living distantly for some time now. And they are truly NOT my children, from so long apart. I think of them daily and thank God for them in my life during their growing years, but I have not one clue as to who they are today, beyond the information that they are of good ways and successful.
Their pediatrician suggested I prepare myself for exactly that sort of thing - they were evolving the sort of children who do so - raising them so far from "roots" - they lack the instincts that are mine, of family closeness and ties. Still, I think they will want to know me again one day, and I am not easy about it. I will expect a LOT of charm on their part to make up for their cavalier way with my love for them.
Growing up in Fairfield Connecticut was like living a Norman Rockwell image - full of all the good things, shared with grand heart and lots of spirit - love of God and Country and romance.
I was passionate to learn every skill of wifedom and motherhood and was a "Pied Piper" - I loved children, in general and they seemed to like me in return. I was not afraid.
I dreamed of my Handsome Prince, and saw him like vision at the onset of puberty - almost down to the last detail, the vision was true. I had run outdoors to watercolor the pretty Bachelors' Buttons on a warm day in May, before it was to late, and suddenly, there he was, in my heart's eye - projected on the sky before me - MY bachelor - A fuzzy image but I could see he was fair and his eyes smiling with love at me in the right way. The vision proved true and he arrived , for real, in clear focus the night we met at the dance. We grew in fine work and love and I am more than fine, from the gift of that fine man in my life.
A year after that first vision of Romance, there was another vision, almost on the very spot - our son ! He, too, was fair and strong and good and for the world. A year later, in the middle of Latin I class, there was the third - "amo, amas, amat....amanda = she must be loved" And there she was, alive in my mind's eye, - my soul was alight with her - "I have a little daughter! - and she is a little jewel! And her name is Amanda ", and then blushed - thinking the class must have heard such glowing thinking , as though spoken aloud. Sister looked at me , then at us....and wrote on the board : "Rarae Aves" ... my students are "rarae aves" = "rare birds" ! Okay, I'll accept that, but my insights came true!
I was not disappointed - the births were both complicated but fine and rarely a bad moment - their Father completed college, came home from war with full health, fine medals and still loving me, on the happiest day of my life! I did not dare fail its mandates, to show appreciation and make our good life the best - the best we could.
And we did. Days began and ended with togetherness and a kiss and a sense of family and team. Character building, body building and mental and emotional development and FUN - just plain fun every day. It did not seem halcyon - there was lots of responsibility in our work and love but it was wonderful and appreciated.
When their Father died, too young and suddenly, they could not know the new motives and directives to me - the passion to help them heal - all three of us were "damaged goods" for some time , from the shock and sorrow. We cried and hugged and dreamed up healing things and got counselling to be sure we were doing the grief-recovery journey correctly. Time passed. We seemed to do so well, once again! And we declared the triumph, in spite of the setback of recession days on our investments and , in turn, our powers as a family circle.
Still, I was so very proud of my two "Super Troopers" - they showed great character and integrity and love, rallying to regain a happy healthy life. But then as the special days of healing passed, it seemed there was a need to prove ourselves 'on our two feet' again and when the fact that "LIFE IS" meant that not all days were full of new triumphs, there was the feeling of loss and resentment again. They began to delay or forget replies to my letters and emails and it went off from there, till I am singing alone to them - and praying alone for them - in the morning and then getting busy with my own good life and sending what my spirit can muster.
I am not a dud - I thought they would WANT my friendship at least, but now I fear that they must have only felt all that work and love to heal them as more aggravation to be rid of, as soon as possible. I cut back on my own letters and gifts, since they had no interest in them, to save my own life and, sadly, turn my energies and love to places more positive.
I am fine - parents know that children do it that way, sometimes, and I was prepared. And I am happy and busy and cannot wait to get started at my days and nights!
But I really expected to do a yearly rendezvous with them and an occasional creative project for our mutual financial gain, as we had done all along, even when they were very young. And that memory cache is archived and treasured and cared for in my heart to come alive one day. I think that, to them, if their Dad and I were the Bow and bowstring, that, with the Bow passed away, I am a bowstring in the grass somewhere and not easy to find, inspite of art to the White House, and this site and lifetime of fine work and love and social pathways. Sighhhhhh....
IN the meantime, I send "Yours in a heartbeat" in my emails to my children - and mean it. I am red cross and similar in my way and can still run to the rescue if they need...and have the sense to call. Thanks to the many unbroken years of very best memory, I can easily still send my love and gratitude for the many, many days full of laughter and sunshine and triumph over every thing, great or small. That light and power feeds me happily, even now.
Links to our stories will be here I think.....fun to share , even if just 'for the record' Here is the complet "On Children" by Kahlil Gibran in "The Prophet"
Elle Smith Fagan