Wednesday, October 19, 2005

"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." (Kahlil Gibran)

Oh yeah? Well Kahlil Gibran can kiss my…Wait…I mean: How inspirational!

The funny thing is, at one time, that poem would have really spoken to me. I can just imagine myself handing out flyers with that poem on it to my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents of my friends, and so on, to try to make them recognize my distinct teenage individuality.

Now I read it, and I feel guilty, the way you do when you know there's a sink full of dishes and a thousand loads of laundry to do, but you’ve turned on the TV and crashed on the couch anyway.

I known, though, that Derek is his own person, it's in every mispronounced word out of his cute little mouth, and in every fairy tale about dinosaurs and monsters that he makes up in his head. But still..he's mine, right? I catch myself feeling so possessive. Like just before bed, when he's all cleaned up, and smelling of bath soap and feels cozier than hot chocolate on a rainy night, I tuck him in and read his story, and we spend ten minutes talking about his day. He gives me a great big bear hug and says "see you later" as I turn out the light and close the door.

It makes me sad sometimes, because I know that there will come a time (not too distant) when those affectionate interludes will not be welcome by him, when he'll be "too old" for the cuddling of his mama.

Even now, Derek is his own person whose social interactions aren't really mine to dictate as they were before. He talks to people, and I try to stop myself from whispering "Don't forget to say "Please" and "thank you!" because even as I'm saying it to myself under my breath, he's saying it out loud already. So I try to hang back more (which comes about as naturally to me as rocket science) and let his own character shine through.

Like when we were at his cousin's birthday party, and everyone was painting their flower pots and making crafts, but Derek was off in the play room putting the spiderman doll to bed in the toy crib, and reading him a story about a dinosaur named Eddy. Part of me wanted to tell him to come back and colour like the rest of the kids, but another part of me (and thankfully, the stronger part), found no reason to force activities onto him when he was obviously having fun doing other things (and not bothering anyone else).

And so, even as Derek is learning, growing, and developing, so do I, as I learn the best ways to deal with him and encourage his growth. Let's just hope I'm not screwing it up so badly that his therapist is going to take out a warrant for my arrest when he's 30.