Summer’s finally over. The kids are back in school… the hubby’s at work. Our house is once more quiet … actually, it’s too quiet for comfort. Not even the morning news on TV can break the silence that has pervaded our home.
I miss the early morning hustle and bustle of summer; the thud and thump of bare feet running and moving about the rooms situated on the second floor of our home, the sound of doors opening and closing with a bang. I miss my older sons’ howls of laughter as well as my younger sons’ squeals and cries of indignation whenever they win or lose a game on the play station.
I miss the late morning convergence of kids in our bedroom. Usually, the 2nd, 3rd and 5th sons are sprawled on our bed while watching cartoons on cable TV; the eldest is engrossed on highstreet 5 while the 4th son plays mafia wars on facebook. Despite my compulsive need for an orderly refuge of a bedroom, I sorely miss the chaos they leave behind; the crumpled sheets, the crumbs of chips and cookies on the floor; toys and whatnots on the bed; plastic food wrappers hanging out from the bathroom’s waste bin.
There’s a gnawing ache in my heart and a painful lump in my throat as my eldest son, who’s in college, closes the gate behind him. His class schedule starts at 9am so he’s the last to leave for school. Tears come unbidden. I stifle a wild desire to run after him and I go to our bedroom instead where I cry my heart out. I’ve never felt like this before. Good thing, the hubby’s just a phone call away. He calms and comforts and the cloud of sadness that has enveloped me disappears.
Our third son, a senior high school student, is contemplating of going to the big city (an hour-and-a-half away… by plane) for his college education next year. Our eldest son, who’s in 3rd year college, plans to pursue his medicine proper in the same big city two years from now. On the brighter side, my second son who’s a college freshman is staying put with us for the next 5 years while the younger ones still have 4 to 5 years to hurdle before college can beckon them away from us.
I do understand that this is the natural order of things: of children leaving and living their own life, of parents letting go and moving on. It’s not easy being a mother to five wonderful sons. I have a lot of memories stored in my heart. I can still remember the first time I laid eyes on each one of them. I remember making a promise that I wouldn’t let any harm come upon them. But promises have limitations. They can choke and shatter dreams even with the best intentions. A lot of times I realized that I can never be always around to protect and help them. They have to be able to stand on their own and learn to cope and grow with every experience that comes their way.
Kahlil Gibran’s On Children says it best and I hope I can always put his poem to heart.
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 our 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.