Today as the holidays come jingling into our lives again, I ponder the gifts I have given my children throughout my 23 years as a mother.
During a conversation with a friend, I realized that I had given my children the two simple gifts I had wanted them to have most while they were in my home and felt a moment of pure Mommy joy. I may stumble as a mother, but I have managed to eqiup both of my children to live rich lives by giving them each a deep set of roots and a sturdy set of wings.
Living in a small, Southern town, the roots were inevitable. Growing up surrounded by extended family and a community of friends, where sweet tea is the house wine and fireflies can be turned in to living lanterns, where love is always just around the corner and happiness is a day outside, cultivates deep roots.
The wings were a bit harder to give. Teaching my babies that make my life so rich and full to fly away from me, well some days that is a bittersweet bite of pickle. I have taught them to revere knowledge, learning, and reading. I have traveled near and far with our little troupe of three, finding adventures in every place. I have held their hands and let go in order to let them feel the power of making choices for themselves and being able to accomplish anything that needed doing without another's help. I have taught them compassion. I have taught them that their world is much bigger than the front porch on a lazy summer evening. All of these lessons have made them not only unafraid of anything but eager to fly away from me because they also know that when they need to rest for a spell, I will be here. I will always be their home.
These two simple gifts, roots and wings, are all that I needed to give. Thank goodness that along the way, I have remembered that when they have both left home, I will still have my own set of wings my parents gave me and I will dust them off and use them once again.