James is two today. Today is also, coincidently, his first day in nursery. It was a gift from his father to me, to give me a break one day a week and I am enormously grateful to him.
This morning as I left James at nursery, I felt deeply the contradiction of parenthood: pain at leaving him alone in the world, withoout me to keep him safe, and excitement at having my first full day off in a year. I imagine it's the same for every mother, at some point in life. We want to keep our children safe and yet we know that we must also allow them ever greater freedom to discern their own paths.
I am reminded of Kahil Gibram's wisdom on parenting, our children come through us, though of us, they are not ours. They are here to live their own lives, fulfill their own destinies, and evolve in their own unique ways.
This tiny parting of ways, James nursery day, is his first big step into self-hood, onto his own path. I wanted to mark this event and to bless it, so that it may unfurl for the highest good. How do we release our beloveds without clinging - albeit unconsciously? Without creating cords that unconsciously bind our children to us? I wrapped him in Archangel Michael's cloak of blue for protection, Mother Mary's aquamarine cloak for love and nurturing, and Archangel Metatron's orange cloak for even more protection!
When I came home, both yesterday and today, I lit a candle. It is a symbolic act: I light the way, I burn through my fears, I honour the moment. I gave thanks for the honour of being his mother, for this new phase in our journeys through life, and asked blessings for James, myself and Dirk.
Now the cynical out there may feel all this is a bit overkill. You may be right. But you may be wrong! We live in a world that is now so fast and impatient that we ignore symbolic rites of passage and life milestones. Noticing these moments, and consciously acknowledging them, brings with it a freedom and a lightness. Ignored, they can be misunderstood and traumatic (especially later rites of passage into teenage years and adulthood); by noticing them, we become aware of the stepping stones of life, how they are the natural fulfillment of all that has gone before and the preparation for all that is to come.