Last week, Anna Cate received her bible (and hymnal) during a church service. Many of the songs presented were songs from praise baby, a collection of spiritual praise songs we used to play all the time. I have lost the dvd set and wish Molly could watch them. Anyway, the praise baby songs elicited some strong sentimental twinges. How has my baby become a little girl and did I do what I was supposed to do along the way for her? Probably not, which is why I'm so thankful we have outside experiences and sources to support her journey.
As well as friends along the path.
In a completely unrelated event, it was also the weekend of her half birthday so she got her ears pierced.
In wondering if I'm doing the right thing, I often contemplate how to raise children to be successful in this world but not be of it. I have always struggled with the same concepts. Maybe my struggles with parenting just mirror my own struggles. Rather than my having the answers to pass down, perhaps, my "lot in life" is to just walk alongside with these girls as they discover their own balance.
In fact, I didn't really like that expression "lot in life" and when looking up its meaning, I find that it has a biblical reference -- the relative of Abraham, Lot, struggles because he doesn't exactly follow the will of God, according to the story. You see, I don't really believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible, but I do think it has so much value in our world, so I find deep meaning when Anna Cate's family of faith presents her with their holy scriptures and songs. Those books, the bible and hymnal, have rich meanings for this world and in our efforts to find meaning of it all, and I'm just so thankful to be a part of this journey for her.
I wonder if that is the point of this parenting gig. Molly helps remind me constantly that it is up to her to do it herself. And when I stand back, I am continually amazed at all she can do as well understand "on her own." I wish I had more time to let her do more on her own. Last week, I lamented in guilt, "Molly gets schlepped around to all of Anna Cate's activities and I know she just wants to be at home." Later that day she said, "Mommy, I'm always rushed around, but what does schlep mean?" Sometimes, however, she enjoys her sissy's activities, like the Girl Scout pumpkin patch trip she went on last night.
To sum up all my disjointed thoughts about how I'm supposed to feel, what I'm supposed to be teaching, I think I know it is my responsibility to teach them how to behave, how to be healthy, and all that jazz. Yet more importantly, it is my sacred duty to just journey alongside with them, witnessing to them as we go through the motions of life together, both the sentimental and the pragmatic steps.
The best way I can influence their journey is by letting them know how special their journey is to me, as I pass along lessons I've found to be important in mine: being kind, brave, healthy, trustworthy, reliable, and well-rested. . .to name a few. It helps to relieve my burden a bit to acknowlege that only by being honest and present in both my love and restraint can I be a suitable traveling companion as we journey together.
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.