the parent and child bond

Kahlil Gibran tells us that our children are not ours, they are the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself. Such a beautiful thing to say. I've quoted it myself many times in the past. But when I think of it again today, I realise I disagree.

We and our children are woven together genetically, emotionally, and through the long complex strands of experience. We are part of them, and they are part of us. Their cells passed through to us during pregnancy can heal our bodies. What we eat can shape their destiny. People are not discrete entities, not singular arrows shot from a bow. We merge, we communicate within blood and bone; we live on in each other literally.

I do not see life longing to stretch into the future. I see it dancing around and around itself. I see how the apple I eat becomes part of my child's destiny, and so the apple tree mothers her and is sister to me.

I see how the fears of my great-grandmother find healing in the courage I draw to myself in the face of my child's fearlessness, and so together we fulfill an old wishing.

I hear my father talking to my daughter in the words I say, and deep within them is an echo of the things he never dared to say to his own mother, and the things she learned to say from hers. My opinion on table manners or dress codes is an old family story, passed down in gentle spirals of light and shadow.

We are together, one life, one twirling ribbon in the sun.


  1. My feelings *exactly* but said so much more eloquently than I ever could. Thank you for sharing.

  2. beautifully expressed
    and there are moments
    where i feel my son is not mine
    life can make both so true