start off. a proverbial poem for parents.

start off with

the only thing more awkward than a classroom full of middle schoolers

is a classroom full of their parents.

knees knocking

under squashed desks

anxious feelings of their own,

ancient and sometimes tragic inadequacies clashing

with the hopeful success and aspirations of their goofy, lanky, gawkish kids.

back to school.

meet the teacher.

who stands before us and says his oldest–a preschooler–started school today, too.


this teacher-parent says,

he knows how we must feel.


he asks

does it ever get better?

do the tears ever separate from the release?

and I shake my head.


the release never gets better.

never an ease about letting a child go.

no matter how big and brawny

solid and sure

he becomes.

all that love

and time

and reddened droplets of fervent prayers

may grow lonely

or transform into

the springtime of another generation

trained up

but never released

from the prayers of those from whom they turn.

 “Start children off on the way they should go,
    and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”

~Proverbs 22:6~


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