Monday, September 20, 2010

An arrow from a bow

Saturday morning at 5 o'clock as the day begins ...
... she's leaving home, bye bye

Ok, so not like the Beatles Wednesday morning and she didn't exactly creep out. Rather, my more than slightly not-sensible car was stuffed to the gunwhales with books, pots and pans, new bed linen as we set out for the long journey North. We smiled at all the cars filled to the brim with the things that Freshers need: duvets, tea bags and a surreptiously packed teddy bear. We grabbed breakfast at a service station and watched an anxious family. Pa re-checking the map, Ma looking in the M&S food shop for one last item of grocery and Son shrugging in depair while he explained that they could probably buy food in Sheffield.

This was different. Madette has been there and done the undergraduate thing, even the post-grad thing. When she was in "that distant marsh town", meeting up for a weekend or even a day trip was easy. This last year has been full of ups and downs for her and in this strange hiatus she has been back home. Despite the frustrations of unemployment and dashed hopes, there have been some very nice times. Weekends in Wales, dog-walks and sharing books. Now, she is a long way North starting an academic career in one of our great universities. We won't mark the ebb and flow of university terms any longer. Yes, she will see the students come and go and the city will be quieter during the Long Vac but her work and research will fit around it not rush with the same tide. Weekends will need planning, many hours of travel punctuated with the misery of motorway journeys or long train journeys. Just why were there pedestrians on the M1 yesterday?

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.

On children - Kahlil Gibran

The fingers, so tightly gripped all those years ago, have been relinquished. And I'm so pleased for her. Now, it's just me, the Collie and the Jam mountain.


  1. Lovely post, Mads, truly lovely. However far in distance and time she travels - she will always be your little girl. And she would be - quite literally - nothing without you.

    I'm sure she will go on to prove to be a REAL credit to you. And - in letting her go - you are keeping her close.

    love and blessings,

    R & Jasper xxx

  2. That poem is so lovely and as someone who works in an univeristy I know she will get used to the changing tides of university life (and no we don't get the entire summer off as many people think!)
    I'll come and help you with the jam if you like!!

  3. Best of luck to her, and you! A lovely poem - thank you for posting it x

  4. Lovely post.

    The week before she died, my mum told me to be careful of the mill buses as I left the house. I was 51 years old.

    The buses had long since gone but my mum was still my mum and I was still her little girl.


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