Tuesday, December 15, 2009


My boys have family members that love them, wonderful teachers, good friends, and a tapestry of amazing souls that create a  chuppah of gentle support.

This canopy of prayers, guidance, and teaching protects our boys from some of the harsh realities of the world.

Yet, no chuppah is watertight, and the occasional drops do fall. Thus, there will be times when our boys will get wet, and possibly be uncomfortable.

I hope I react the right way during those times.

I remember from swim team that it would take just a gentle push of the feet to glide away from the wall. It was so easy to escape into the water. Joel is still holding on to that wall. But Owen--he's getting ready to release into the watery depths.

Already, he has his own little world with his preschool. His successes, and his hurts, are all his own. He still has his chuppah of support, of course, but I'm no longer holding his hand. And with each year, he will become more independent, and his life will be increasingly his own.

I'll always remember a story my aunt, also a mother of two boys, shared with me. One of my cousins came home from school upset about something. It may have been a social thing, or possibly something that happened in class. He was devastated and near tears when he came home, but he did not share the why with his mother.

She couldn't fix it, and he didn't want her comfort. She had to watch him be sad, watch him flounder in the big, deep pool.

As a mother, all you want is to be that chuppah. Sometimes, though, you feel more like the glass broken under the foot at the end of the wedding ceremony. Shattered. Useless.

Don't worry--nothing has happened with my boys that makes me feel shattered. However, I've listened to the conversations of my friends, and as they talk of soccer, basketball, scouts, or school, I'm trying to imagine my little boys in that environment. I can't see Owen dribbling or shooting free-throws (although I can see him cutting open the basketball to see how it works).

I wonder how he will do when it's time to choose partners for activities, or how he will recover when he is called a name or teased for something out of his control.After all, it happens to everybody.

I want to protect him, yet I know I cannot. Anything worth doing in life takes some effort, and if I want the boys to stand on their own two feet, I can't be carrying them.

I am, to a degree, powerless to control their worlds. All I can do is continually weave their chuppah, adding new strands of prayer, and stitching in as many caring adults possible to provide the shade and comfort they need. 


SamiJoe said...

I LOVE your 'Comments' comment---the Running Man and the Booty Call eh???
LMAo! That's a whole blog in itself!

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

I think you're doing an excellent job weaving their chuppah - and you'll be there if there are any leaks, which is most important. ((HUGZ!!))

Melani said...

yes we all want to protect our children and yet sometimes we can't do anything at all and we are powerless and well that sometimes sucks! but moving forward I am sure you will be there always for your boys as I am for all my children.

Bekah said...

You have SOOO hit the nail on the head. My oldest is 7 and it is such a strange feeling to see her world expand WITHOUT me every year. But we are better mothers and produce better children when we let them err and hurt, while giving them the tools to handle it without us. (boo hoo).

Nikia, May and da kids said...

Well said. {{{tears}}}
And it doesn't get any easier the older they get. I don't know what nimrod said it would get easier, but I know our kids need to forge through life with all we have taught them and then they let go and hope we gave them enough. We have weaved them enough.

Or we could hang on like a few nut job parents do and then KNOW we didn't teach them any common sense
= P

Heavens forbid!


Corrie Howe said...

To everything within your power and then let go and let God handle it from there. That's what I have to keep telling myself, that He's much better at these things that I am.

Cat said...

A lovely, lovely post. Your boys are so lucky to have you.

Jen said...

Sigh...yeah. Just...yeah. My chuppah leaks too much.

Caution Flag said...

That was very, very nice writing. There will surely be leaks and sometimes the leaks will turn in floods, but ultimately, your kids will be okay. Remember that on the rainy days.

Mama Zen said...

To me, this is one of the most terrifying aspects of motherhood.

Traci said...

What a beautiful analogy -- I love the thought of weaving a chuppah for my children. My son is in kindergarten this year so he is more and more out from under my chuppah. Learning to let him be brave without me has been harder on me than him. My daughter (not yet three) is growing up and away from me even faster. As painful as that can be at times, in the end it is what we are meant to do. Raise them to leave us. Oh! How that hurt just to write it.

erika said...

I left a comment yesterday on another blog in another context about a "revelation" I had when Izzy was 2 months old and she was fighting for her life on the ventilator. While I was lying in bed staring into the dark, it hit me that I do not "own" my daughter and while I'm responsible for taking care of her she is her own person. I distinctly remember that the words of Gibran's poem On Children popped into my head:
"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 [...]"
It was painful, but it also gave me peace and helped me keep my sanity through all the insanity that we've been gone through.

Beautiful post, Nancy. Love your writing and the imagery.

mama-face said...

You write so beautifully. And believe me; you have years of worrying ahead of you! The shattered glass metaphor is very poignant.