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When Parents Have to Grow Up

You all know this kid.  It’s my beautiful daughter, Brighid – one of my Beauty Girls.  And many of you know that I’m struggling with some of the decisions she’s made.

When Jim and I got married, in our wedding programs, I chose to include a passage from The Prophet by Khalil Gibran.  The poem moved me in many ways, as a young woman entering marriage.  But once the romantic part of being engaged, planning the wedding, and embarking on a new life gave way to 9 to 5 jobs, scrubbing toilets, and embarking on motherhood, the fascination with The Prophet was put aside for the reality of Erma Bombeck.

Until now.  I’m not sure why I stumbled upon this today, but I did, and I find wisdom in the words of The Prophet.  If nothing else, I recognize that even parents have to grow up.  We have to adapt from being parents to infants into being parents to toddlers.  And with each step, we are parenting our children so they become less and less dependent on us and more and more anxious to make their own way in the world.

So it is with these words from Khalil Gibran – the poet who’s words I chose to represent my marriage – that I am going to try to hold fast to as my daughter decides that now it is her turn to make her own way in the world.  There are growing pains to be sure, as the mother of an adult.  I pray these words will help ease the pain.

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.

Purple Pride – October 20th – Show YOUR True Colors

Bullying is a terrible thing – against anyone.  I knew bullies very well growing up, as I was a fat kid.  The bullies made rude comments, ridiculed my clothing no matter how stylishly dressed I thought I was, and criticized any bite of food I put in my mouth, be it a carrot or a cookie.

But I knew someday, it would get better.  I grew up in an overweight family, so I never doubted that at some point, the bullies would be behind me, and I would grow up, find love, have a family, and be whatever I wanted to be.  I was surrounded by other fat people who did all of that and more.

For these six teens – and for the many before, and unfortunately the ones after – bullying killed them.  Each of these young lives saw the only respite from the torment they suffered was to die, by their own hands, to end the pain.  It was the only way out they saw.

We need to let our kids know, whether they are gay or straight; fat or thin; popular or geeky – it gets better.  There is love out there, light in the darkness, hope where there is hopelessness.  It gets better.

Please remember not only these six young men who died tragically, but anyone who has ever been made to feel less than what they are at the hands – or snarky mouth – of a bully.  Be the beacon in the fog of despair for someone.  Wear purple on October 20th.

For more information on how you can help, or to get support as you go through a difficult time, please visit http://www.itgetsbetterproject.com/ .

And So It Begins…Prom Season

In April of this year, my daughter’s school will have a ring dance.  This is their equivalent to the junior prom.  This dance is more than 2 months away, and my daughter is home sick with a bad sinus infection.  What is on her mind this evening?  Why she doesn’t have a date for the dance.

We went through this last year.  She ended up having to turn a couple of boys down, because she had more than enough dates.  But this year, she is convinced she will not have a date.  One boy has already asked her.  She turned him down by acting as if she didn’t know he was asking her.  He has not worked up the courage to ask again.  The guy she would have gone with last year if he had asked her before the guy she went to the dance with is afraid Brighid will have to turn him down again this year, so he is asking someone else.  The guy she went with last year has a girlfriend this year that will go with him to the dance.  She has had a couple of boys earlier this year express great interest in dating her, only to get side tracked with school and sports and not be able to date anyone.  Such is life at a challenging school.

But I anticipate tears, fears, and headache after headache (mine) as she wrestles with whether or not she’ll be asked. 

So much to be said for arranged marriages.  I wonder if you could do arranged prom dates?