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Recently I was reading the book "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" by Mitch Albom and I came across this quote:

It is not until much later, as the skin sags and the heart weakens, that children understand; their stories, and all their accomplishments, sit atop the stories of their mothers and fathers, stones upon stones, beneath the waters of their lives.

I assumed the quote meant that children's accomplishments and stories are due to the solid foundations that their parents built for them, like stones upon stones, with each new layer being held in place by the strong foundation beneath it. However, I could not figure out what the "beneath the water of their lives" part meant. I was thinking it could mean the essentials in the child's life like food on the table, etc. much like how water is necessary for human survival, or how the water might symbolise the troubles in their lives that the child faces yet is able to conquer and not get "swept away" because of just how solid the foundation of the "stones upon stones" is, but neither of these feels quite right though.

What does it mean?

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It is difficult to see under waters. In a lake, a lot of stones can build up without there being any visible sign of their existence on the surface.

Hence "the waters of their lives" is a metaphor for the way their day to day lives go on over the stories -- "stones" -- without their being aware of it.

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