Day 103 Bows and Arrows

March 22, 2015

(This is part of a 365 project during my 70th year where I write and illustrate a blog on each day's gift.)
Lauren's innate ability to connect with people is evident as an infant in her grandfather's arms.
“Do you want to have a child together?” I questioned David more than 35 years ago and when he said yes, that sealed our new relationship. He promised me that the baby would be a girl and then suggested that we really should get married. This came to pass six weeks before our baby was born because we had to wait for both of our divorces to finalize.

On March 22, 1980, I gave birth to our daughter Lauren as I took photos, determined that I had only one shot at photographing the most important event in my life. Over the following years, I watched through the lens as our daughter grew but enjoyed more our daily interaction when I put down the camera. I saw a smart little girl who entered school a year early and at 3 ½ was taking piano lessons and playing in piano recitals. Early in her life, it was obvious that she had a mind of her own. She refused to eat sandwiches and insisted on cold pizza slices in her school lunch box every day. During play, it was a special gift every day to watch her imagination as she built tent cities in the living room and talked with her dozens of stuffed animals.

Since I had decided to use my maiden name in my second marriage, David and I agreed on a hyphenated last name for this child who was a part of both of us. Of course, she would be a feminist like her mother.This thought was part of my naivet√©. I was a shy, introverted little girl hiding behind my mother’s dress, but Lauren was quite social, wanting daily to bring home friends from elementary school. When she came home from her first day at middle school, she ran into the house shouting, “I made 11 new friends today!” Although a child comes into this world through parental biology and lives among environmental influences, these things are not the sum total of a child. She will become who she is, regardless of these other elements. Lauren helped teach me this over the years and I have come to admire who she has become. Two years ago when she told me that she was diagnosed with breast cancer, I cried, saying to David, “It should have been me.” However, I doubt I could have been as strong and resilient as my daughter has been.

It is not the parents' job to try to shape the child in their own image.  It is their job to help a child grow into a happy, well-adjusted individual and to love her unconditionally as she evolves as a unique human being. Over the years, our youngest daughter has taught me much and she has become someone I am proud to have brought into this world. Every March 22, I receive a gift—a reminder of a most important birthday.

“Your children are not your children.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you,
yet they belong not to you…
You are the bows from which your
children as living arrows are sent forth.”
~ Khalil Gibran

My gift today is our youngest daughter’s birthday.
> Day 104 Saffron Stigma

You can read my other posts on this project here:

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