13 replies »

  1. It’s a beautiful question. I’m in the same place—two teenagers, one on the cusp of adulthood. Every day I am reminded, particularly with the older one, that the time I have left to prepare them for the adult world is quickly drawing to a close. The lessons I have left to teach must be ones with wide applications, like “trust your instincts” and “you’ll never regret being kind or standing up for the little guy.” The only specific one I keep hammering home is “always pay your credit card bill on time and in full.”

    You are not letting go of your heart, only loosening your grip a bit. I was once told to think of your children like robin’s eggs: hold them in the palm of your hand, tenderly, but if you hang on too tightly you’ll crush them. There’s an opportunity there for you, too. Like the Elizabeth Stone quote reminds us, we’ve decided to allow our hearts to walk outside our bodies forever. In these times of transition, we can let other people help hold our hearts like robin’s eggs for us. People like to be helpful, so let them.

    It’s not always so painful. When they were small, we got excited about small victories: the first goal scored, the first book read by themselves, the first straight-A report card. Now the battles are harder, but the victories are richer: the first time our child stands up for someone vulnerable, the first time they finally master that deep fear, the first time they take a big risk and it pays off. The cycles repeat, always an order of magnitude larger. This is what they and we are supposed to do. In opening up, we say yes to the richness of life.

    Good luck. ❤

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  2. Beautiful and so true. However there is the land where arrows go and the target it seeks; it’s called grandchildren. A second dimension with its beauty just as wonderful as the first. God bless.

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  3. Hi Chuck! Thank you for reading and commenting! Grandchildren! I have heard of these wondrous beings and hope to get to meet mine someday. Though with a 15- and 13-year-old, those days seem far away. But as with all things time- and children-related, that’s probably an illusion, and it will soon feel like it’s right around the corner. Thanks for that ray of hope!

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  4. I have read Gibran, but your piece, after Decision day, tore me down at the same time as it lifted me up. Thank you!

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  5. Hi Cynthia! It’s what parenthood does, doesn’t it? Tear us down and lift us up at the same time? Congratulations on reaching Decision Day, and I wish your child the absolute best of luck! It’s a wonderful time for them; for us . . . tougher. .

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