i worried i would pass on crooked teeth and a slow metabolism.
i never worried i’d pass on the difficulty of understanding feelings.
i wished for them to be beautiful and smart.
i forgot to wish for them to always feel the love around them.
i hoped they’d be athletic like their father.
not once did I think to ask they see the world through his optimistic eyes.
as babies i would hold their hands thru the parking lot
put myself in front of cars,
yank their little hands away from the light socket.
i could count 1, 2, 3, 4 and
they were running to clean up their mess
driven only by the fear of what happens when I got to 5.
now they keep secrets, big secrets, and they hold them so tight
and all i can do is try to pay close enough attention to know
when they are in trouble.
the world is bigger than just the radius of a city.
now i must protect them from criminals and perverts
hiding, stalking, preying on their innocence inside a virtual world
and know they won’t understand
and be strong enough to see the anger in their eyes directed at
me when i used to be the one they adored the most.
i know i must exist in the shadows, knowing when to intervene
and when to trust.
i can’t lose patience,
i must remember it’s okay for me not to like them sometimes
because loving them comes even before breathing.
they are beautiful, resilient creatures and no challenge i’ve faced
will ever come close to the challenge of keeping them safe while
still allowing them the space to make mistakes, learn, grow and
become the people who will change the world for the better.
i will take their anger, i will absorb their pain, and i will remind them
to be grateful for all the good in their life.
when they hurt others, i will help them find kindness and
humility to make it right again.
and above all else, i will remember not to hide my own feelings because
i want them to know
when the world seems out to get them,
i’m always in their corner.
my love for them is something that no mistake or lie or anger can break.
it’s never a question and will never falter.
it can’t be broken,
it doesn’t have to be earned.