last first days

today is
my daughter’s
last first day
of high school
and my son’s
last first day
before he goes
to high school
next year

i remember
their first days
of kindergarten
the tears of
a baby growing up
leaving the nest
for hours a day
feeling like
i was losing
a part of them

now i see
i hadn’t lost
anything at all
i was just forced
to share them
with the world
i could no longer
fully protect them
from alone

the slow slide
from keeping them
safe from danger
to simple words
of wisdom mined
from years of
disappointment
hoping to point them
in the best direction

there is no manual
just the dreams
where they succeed
in all the things
i failed so badly
that they crack the
code to happiness
in a world of
constant sorrows
that their smiles
ignite the skies

there is a helplessness
in knowing what
life does to a person
and realizing you
are incapable of
stopping the decline
that smudges dream
into salty tears
where all you can do
is hope you’ve done
enough to insulate them

the futility in
being an observer
wanting nothing more
than to make sure
it is all okay
when you can’t recall
the last time
things were not
monumentally shattered
while forcing a
facade of acceptance

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