Sunday, February 25, 2018

Aging parent's lament

I wake this morning, aching
for a mistake my child might make,
and then relieved to see a text
that lets me know it can't have happened,
that she's older now, and wiser, too,
and better at protecting what she values.
I'm so thankful,
and wishing I could learn to trust
both girls to make good choices,
instead of being haunted by awareness of the dangers they once chose --
But isn't that the legacy
of my own guilt for all the ways
I failed them growing up?
No parent's perfect, though we try,
and love takes many forms,
not all of them wise,
or even selfless,
and the echoes of the parents we once had,
and any damage that was done in raising us,
inevitably resonate in unexpected ways down generations --
and what we teach our children
isn't always what they learn.

And still we watch them grow,
and hope they somehow figure out
how valuable they are, and flawed;
how gifted, yet imperfect,
finding themselves both blessed and humbled
by all the possibilities.

They're thirty now, and still we wake,
aching, some gray mornings, hoping
choices that they're making
won't break the graceful arc that is their lives.

No comments: