Bows and Arrows

I know in my heart it is my job as a mom to set my daughters free.  To teach them to become independent, strong young women and find their true selves. But, because I am a big Mama Bear (ROAR!) at heart, sometimes this is hard for me and when things are difficult for my daughters or someone hurts them, I want to fix things for them.  I want to do things for them.  I want to make life easier for them.  I want to get involved.  And I have to catch myself at these times.  I have to take a deep breath.  I have to BACK OFF!

I know this in my heart. But sometimes I need to get out of my head.  But it isn’t easy.  I feel one of the very hardest things for me as a mom is to do is to find the balance of supporting my daughters without interfering.  It is hard for me when one of my daughters is hurting to listen, but to not give unsolicited advice.  It is hard for me to hold her and wipe away her tears, but not go and punch the daylights out of the kid who hurt her. (I mean I wouldn’t really, but you know the feeling…).

I know that I have to put down my phone and stop myself from calling someone, emailing someone, texting someone for my kids instead of making them speak, text, email (ok they never email!), communicate for themselves.  I have to tell my kids to talk to a friend, teacher, coach directly when they have an issue instead of me talking to the friend’s mom, the teacher or the coach.  My kids aren’t in elementary school anymore, I cannot speak for them.  I have to realize it will only hurt them, not help them and that the only way I can really help them is to hold them and hug them and support them, but not do things for them.   And the only other thing I can do is rant to my husband or my best friends (thank you guys!),  or open a bottle of wine (thank you Chardonnay!).

But I also find comfort during these times going back to a poem from the book The Prophet by, Kahlil Gibran which my own mom gave to me when I was sixteen.  In the book it says:

“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 set 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.”

This poem calms me because the words remind me that while I am here to guide our daughters, it is their life they are living and I have to remember that the lessons they are learning, the experiences they are having, are all part of their journey.   And as hard as it is to let my little Angels soar, I realize that the pain they go through is all part of their flight and that I can’t always make the turbulence go away, even though I wish I could. 

So, I keep this poem nearby as a reminder for me that when I want to be Mama Bear, fix things, give unsolicited advice, that instead I should step back for a moment, take a deep breath and use my ears to listen, my arms to hold…and just zip my big mama mouth- except to say;

I love you dear daughters more than words could ever say, and I am so very sorry you are going through this.  I am here for you.   Always and no matter what. 

I am your bow, you are my arrows.  


Kristy Sands

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