My son suffers from what is called, atypical migraines. This being a side effect he endures from a year and half of chemotherapy. Even early on, after having his first bout, we both agreed that he is blessed. The list of possible side effects given to me prior to his surgery and treatment was so lengthy, even with something as debilitating as migraines are, he is blessed to have so few residuals from his time spent with cancer.
Life provides us the tools we need to grow in various ways. They do not always come by way of religious text or even spiritual text. Some of our most important catalysts for expansion come by way of every day things. My son’s atypical migraines are no exception. They have been a pivotal learning point for him as well as me.
Many of you already know I used to speak publicly on the subject of raising confident children. It is what sits at the heart of my children’s chapter book series and it sits at the core of how I parent. But it wasn’t always that way. There was a pivotal point in my life that caused me to change how I view everything, both inward and outward. Whereas I used to believe I was on this earth solely to bring my children into this world and tend to them while here, certain spiritual events occurred that revealed the error of my perception. The souls housed within my children had chosen me as their guide. Their souls were not concerned with the level of wealth I could drape upon them. Nor were their souls concerned with the ease of living I could provide. The soul never cares about such things. There is a line in my favorite poem by Kahlil Gibran that reads: You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. And that is what their souls wanted from me.
I’m not afraid to admit dear reader, that prior to this vital time in my life I was blind to my own ways. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t empowered. Both due to my own choices. And that unfulfilled bow was the launching point from which the arrows that are my children flew. Everything changed for me once my awareness shifted. Everything. I began empowering myself, thereby empowering them. One moment in particular displays this shift in clarity. My son was driving back from college with his sister in tow. He called home. An atypical migraine was descending upon him. He didn’t know what to do. And everything in me wanted to scoop him under my wing and drive him home. For those who don’t know, atypical migraines involve having a temporary, pixelated impairment to one eye, among other things. What I did next would either disable him or enable him. Instead of dropping the bow, I held it steady and guided him on how to do it on his own. The plan: Don’t panic. Compensate for the visual disturbance. Go slow. And if it becomes dangerous, I’ll come get you.
I sat for the next hour with tears in my eyes and breath suspended in my chest. I knew he was being given the chance to experience for himself his own strength. I could not make the moment about me and mine. The moment was about him and his. So I did as I knew I was suppose to do, I steadily launched the arrow, and waited.
He made it home safe, and I exhaled. But now, so many years later he knows his own power. A truth he would not own if I had taken it from him. When the effects of a migraine descend upon him he knows he’ll be alright. Like a small child who falls for the first time then looks at their parent for the appropriate response my son looked to me. What my response was then, is his response now. Don’t panic. You can do this. You’ll be alright. And yesterday, my very typical college son who works a meager paying job for summer employment did not call in to work when he awoke with an atypical migraine, he texted me instead and said: I can do this. I’ll be alright.
I don’t believe parenting is so difficult. But parenting well is. Often it has required a level of strength within me I wasn’t sure I had. That’s how I know these catalysts were meant for me, as well. I’m blessed to be launching these two souls. I make many mistakes along the way, but I know they bring to the world their joy, strength and depth. And I hope my bow is what gets them there.