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Saying Goodbye

I can't get used to saying goodbye to my daughters even though we've been doing it for the past 10 years. You'd think it gets easier, but it doesn't. It still feels like the first time.

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.*

At the airport, I watch families with their young children and try to remember what it was like when my girls were little. What I felt like. What I was doing at the time. What we weren't doing. Was I even aware of the passage of time? 

When my kids were little I lived so much in the moment that there was no time to reflect on the fact that our time as a family was measured. Sooner than we were ready, we would have to let them go. Send them on their way. Wish them an abundance of everything, but especially of love, health and joy. 

They come through you, but not from you.* 

I nod and smile, a little teary-eyed nonetheless, because I know just how fast it all goes. How quickly time flies. How much I now miss the time when my daughters were little. They were always nearby. Did we take that time for granted? Sometimes, I wish I could go back in time. And, although I know that's only possible in my memories, it is a bittersweet wish that has been gnawing at me lately more intensely than usual.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.*

If I could go back, what would I change? I would slow down more often. Talk more with my children. Worry less. Laugh even more because we did (and still do) an awful lot of laughing as a family. Slow down all the time. Spend less and enjoy it more.

This sounds like I have regrets, but I don't. It just goes so fast. My oldest daughter is getting married this summer. It's a big step for all of us; my baby is going to start a family of her own. I try to think back to when I got married and started my own family. It was beautiful, even with its ups and downs. Like most newlyweds and first-time parents, my husband and I really didn't know what we were doing. It was trial and error most of the time with a big dose of instinct mixed in. It helped that we were in agreement about what doing the right thing meant. 

We raised two beautiful, courageous, amazing daughters and our son is following in their footsteps.

Still, and yet, my heart aches: can't we keep them with us just a little bit longer? 

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.*

*Many thanks to Kahlil Gibran for his words of wisdom. I carry them with me wherever I go. Now that our family is growing, I reach out to his words for comfort. It is a wise reminder of what being a parent is really all about. 

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