On Children (Kahlil Gibran)
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...
(full poem is > here)
i was going to post today about new york and my strange bout with "tornado watch 2010" (which i'll probably do later) but i actually have a more pressing matter to discuss.
i spoke to a dear friend this morning about her son and his disappointment after a recent phone conversation with his father. to protect their privacy, i won't delve too much in the details outside of, this lovely young man is often put in the middle of his father's manipulative bullshit and it weighs heavily on him.
before you start assuming i'm "team mom," understand that while i am a good friend who has her back, i know how to be fair and objective when i hear about life's happenings from her or others i know. some friends appreciate me for my candor, logic and reasoning, some are irked by it to which i've often replied, "then don't talk to me about your shit and find someone who is totally team 'you can do no wrong and only your perspective is right' if that's what you're looking for." in other words people, i'm no puppet, i have a brain and i use it.
my friend/the mom in this situation has NEVER spoken ill of her ex/son's father to her son. NEVER. and she's wanted to, believe me and would be within her rights as a parent and human being if she did. but we've always thought that while young, her son may think the world of his father, life is the great equalizer and one day, he'll see him, really see him and form his own opinions. as my dear grandmother often said, "keep living."
unfortunately, this remarkable young man is in the throws of learning what negative characteristics his father possesses: passive-aggressive, manipulative and selfish being a few he's having to learn to grapple with. i feel for him, especially because i can relate. but read on, i'll keep connecting the dots.
another conversation i had today was with a close friend who is in the middle of her parent's bullshit (i'm allowed to say this), once again. to protect all parties involved, i'll stay on the surface with this as well. my friend is having to deal with being in the middle of her parents joyful interactions (sarcasm) even though she's a certified adult. said friend will not engage with her parents (smart) but let me just say it involves painful divorces, blogs, facebooks, interviews and perspectives that unfortunately, their children have been privy to, for years.
finally, there's me. my parent's have grown and now that i'm an adult, i can look back and have more empathy on who they were, how young they were and how emotionally immature they were during the latter part of their marriage and after it dissolved. that said, i was very much in the middle of their bullshit. there were times neither of them would speak to one another and so, i did the communicating for them or i'd often try to "keep the peace" by speaking on the others behalf. one parent was hurt in how it ended and liked to bad mouth the other parent out of frustration and so, i'd sit their, internalizing everything said. unfortunately at that time, i didn't have the voice i do now so there was no, "please talk to your friends about this and not me, your child, who is not your peer." and before anyone gets in a tizzy (*clears throat* mom and dad), understand that i said, they've grown but they weren't perfect.
and i've heard more, trust me, i've heard it all. whether it be from people of older generations, peers or younger, i've heard all of the issues we taller children have had with our parents. some things have been so repulsive, i've actually thanked god for the issues i've had with my own.
but i get it, we're all human...believe me, i get it. i'm not sitting here on the throne, waving a magic wand, pretending i'm without fault or that i know how i'll operate at all times as a parent, but i have a good idea. for the most part, i am aware of my faults and for what lies beneath...those hurts that are buried deep inside the murk, the learned behaviors, the things we project, i have friends and family, good solid, fair-minded people to keep me in check.
which leads me to the, "i have to go there" for a moment PSA entitled, "in defense of children"...
your children are not you. they're not here to pick sides, they're not here to clean up your mess, they're not here to be mini-adults and be responsible for all YOUR shit.
children are not accessories.
if you know you have a tendency to project, be selfish, narcissistic, an emotionally baggage ladened individual, drama seeking, like to involve children in "grown folks business" and shy away from taking responsibility, do yourself and your unborn children a favor, DO NOT procreate.
if you can't be remotely self aware, handle criticism, have a tendency to "play victim" rather than own up to your shit, if you can't handle the human truth that you are not fucking perfect, that you don't lay golden eggs and you actually have faults, DO NOT procreate.
if you can't love unconditionally, be nurturing, hold your child, know when to back off, be protective of them instead against this world instead of asking them to protect you, or simply just surround your child with so much love that it knows no bounds....say it with me, DO NOT procreate.
instead, get yourself some fucking therapy before you bring a life into this world. we'd be a much better place for it.
in other words, LET KIDS BE KIDS. they have the rest of their lives to know what we know, to be who they are to become. that innocence and wonder, that "joie de vivre" is real, don't squash it before its time. let it blossom so that they may maintain it when life surely rears its head to test their mettle.
i've noticed motherfuckers take more time picking out their shoes than they do picking out their mates or even thinking about what it means to be a parent, what it means to bring LIFE into this world. shit is not the cosby show 24/7, people. parenting is hard and beautiful and amazing, all in one breath. i have an IMMENSE amount of respect for those that do it lovingly, selflessly and tenaciously on a day to day basis.
finally, you might be asking, "am i a parent?" nope. will i make mistakes? hell fucking yes. i expect to and i expect my children to both adore and abhor me at one time or another as we grow together and trudge through life. after all, it's only natural.
but i can promise you this, i'll learn as i go along, i'll fight for their love and respect and at the end of the day, i'll simply "keep living" and express the same to them in the process.