Sunday, November 11, 2018

Knowing...

What do I know about assumptions and what I know.  Specifically I was thinking about my now grown children.    I think of Kahlil Gibran and his poem about children.  He says that our children are not our children "and though they come through but not from you"

All of our children came through me.  Through my body.  But they were free spirits from the time they realized they were alive.  Does a fetus know it's alive?  That's a discussion for another day.

The point is, for me, that our children don't belong to us.  They are who they are. We are their guardians and their protectors.  But not their owners.

My first born has not lived under the same roof as me for almost 20 years.  I think of her as an infant, totally dependent on me.  A toddler who was both adorable and drove me crazy at the same time.

This is true of all five of them.   Yes, I am their mother.  Nick is their father.  We are all linked.   But, beyond the first time they got onto the school bus, who are they now?

They have had their own personal world that I couldn't be a part of, starting when?  Maybe the first time they got on the school bus.   Maybe nursery school?   Maybe when they weaned?  Maybe when they left our family bed and started to sleep on their own?

My children all have friends, homes, likes and dislikes.  And I don't know all of this.  I don't know what their memories of their childhoods is. And I suspect that they all have different memories from one another.

But the bond is there.  I love them unconditionally even though I don't know what their day to day is.  It doesn't include me.  And it shouldn't.

My kids grew up with grandparents.  Some they knew better than others.  My older kids knew my mother as an active, fun person who took them bike riding and to the movies, and even to the beach.

My younger kids didn't grow up with that grandmother.  They grew up with a grandma who was disabled by a stroke.  They knew a woman who was on oxygen all the time.  A grandmother mostly confined to her electric recliner, or a wheel chair.

My mother was 52 when Courtney was born.  She was 64 when Chance was born.  And in that amount of time my mother was a different person.   My kids all loved her.  But what did they really know?

I didn't even know my mother.  Not completely.   I heard her stories of living on the farm and some of her antics.  When visiting her younger brother a few years ago, I learned that in high school, my mom had the nick name of "torchy" because she was so hot!    There's so much I don't know.

My father was an elusive, troubled person.  He would never, ever talk about his childhood or his father.   I don't know why.  I have my suspicions that my dad was treated cruelly by his own dad.

My kids knew their Sherwood grandparents better than they knew my parents.  They were both 60 when Courtney, my first, was born.   They were very gentle with the kids.  By that I mean, they would read to them and talk to them and learn what the kids had to say.

We keep learning new things about them too.   A few years ago we learned that my mother in law had interviewed Amelia Earhart when still in high school!

I think that at least some of this is stirred up by Veteran's Day. So so many  men, mostly.  And those who are still living look so absolutely different than they did.  How can an old man be a 18 year old soldier?   How can my first baby be 40?

Bed time for this tired mom.


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