On children

"How can two children from the same womb turn out so different?" my mom often says out loud to no one in particular.

She often says this when she offers me gifts or money, and I say no. Even during my divorce, when my parents offered to pay lawyers and my move, I said I had enough money (which was a lie). My brother, from his corner of the table, said, "If she doesn't want it, can I have it?"

(btw, I did find that money hidden in my luggage once I got back in the US and unpacked. My parents knew I would never take it.)

I lack materialism, and also patience, both of which my brother has in excess. He has way too many watches and gadgets and always seems to have a new car, but he is also one of the sweetest and most patient people I know. My mom often says, "Your brother is such a nice person. He is like a saint!" whereas I am usually referred to as the "difficult one."

I wonder what she is trying to say about me with those comments?

When Christmas comes, though, my brother makes a list of things he wants, and they are not cheap, for Santa to chose from. I tell my mom I don't need anything besides chocolate, which is true.

Another sentence my mom always mumbles to herself more than to anyone else is Gibran's quote, "your children are not your children..." whenever myself or my brother do something that disappoints her, such as moving to another country.

With that she means, you put your children in the world and feel a sense of entitlement to what happens to them, but they are not really yours.

They are people, with their own thoughts, own wishes and may even come out with a personality that does not resemble anyone that you know.

Heck, they may not even like you once they figure out you are far from knowing everything, as they once thought. They may love you, but not like you.

This just downed on me, since I am finding more and more how really different I am from my parents and how different my little one may be from me.

"The Prophet" is a fantastic book that my grandmother used to read out loud, and here is the excerpt on children:

On Children
Kahlil Gibran

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 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.

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