A number of years ago, a dear friend and I, newly separated from our respective partners and lives feeling messy and broken, took ourselves off to a meditation retreat in the Dandenong Ranges.  Perched on the side of a hill was a Buddhist Monastery, which seemed to welcome calm from the moment we stepped out of the car and into the rainy, grey day.  

I took a few things away from that weekend.  The first, I actually suck at meditation and find it incredibly difficult to practice.  Something I am still working on (badly!) to this day.  Second, self care should never be a reward, it should be practiced daily before everything else.  My biggest takeaway was a gift from my friend Sandra.  She gifted me words from the most profound book I have ever had the pleasure of laying my eyes on. 

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran is a prose of 26 prose poetry essays, originally published in 1923.  It's a book I tend to gift to like-minded people because in those 26 essays are the most beautifully written and profound summaries of life and how I feel about it. 

I know, I know, get to the point, Amy!  I like to ramble but I promise it's important.  My favourite piece from this collection of essays is Kahlil Gibran's words on children, and when I read it I feel like this tells the story of this family, their love and their connection.  

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.

I feel so grateful that this family have let me into their lives to document the next year for them as Maggie grows, and they grow together as a family.  What a gift it is to be part of that.