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My oldest is about to graduate from college this year, and I have been thinking about the process of nurturing and letting go.  I wrote this a number of years ago, when he went off to sleep-away camp for the first time.  Funny, to me it doesn’t seem so long ago.

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Daniel

 

Absence

Is an ache

Not like the active toothache

But like the way your tongue keeps working a spot

Where the tooth is gone,

The way your jaw remembers that place.

The pain isn’t stabbing or shooting

But constant

A sense of loss

Of being missed

Of something that was so much a part of you

That its absence makes clear

Just how essential.

 

You grow so fast, so far away.

I cleaned your closet in your absence

Finding old treasures, long forgotten,

Finding the badges of your courage,

Achingly.

 

The letting go is hard–

Harder than I thought.

But the joy in the progress, the growth,

The glimmers of the man you will become,

Make me hopeful.

 

So I sit with tears now

That I can’t tell you about.

Tears after the heartfelt hug you gave

In spite of wanting to be macho in front of your friends.

Tears when I heard your tiny brother

Sigh deeply and say,

“I miss Daniel ’cause I love him.”

 

A boy too big to kiss his mom in public

But young enough to sneak

Stuffed animals into bed.

 

My gentle, temperamental son,

I miss you too

And love you.

 

Camp helps me to grow up too.

 

(c) Lydia A. Schultz

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As a parent of an adolescent, and as a teacher, this seems appropriate for the start of Spring Fever.

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The Boy Men

 

They can barely contain it.

 

The energy flows like sap

Through their veins and

into the world around them.

 

Fingers drum on their knees

Feet bounce a restless staccato

Hands in constant motion

Bouncing balls

off floors

walls

each other

 

 

They want to get onto the court

They need to get out there

a pressure valve

a release

 

They need to tap that sap

in the game

in the rush

the flow

the sweat, the motion

 

the game

 

a way to control that burgeoning

That sense of growing

beyond  their boundaries

exploring and exploding

 

Direct it

into spent energy

Take that potential

and make it sweet

 

March in Minnesota

 

It overwhelmed, if for a while

            Snow so thick I can’t see across a street

            Flakes aswirl, enveloping me as I walk

 

Suddenly, sunshine, brilliant, blinding,

            Squirrel and rabbit prints

            Chase each other in the snow

 

The world comes alive again

            Cardinals dart from tree to tree

            Serenading me, sending me forth with hope in my day

 

Hoar frost rimes the trees

            Gold finches flit

            A psalm of their own making

 

Sculpted with whiteness, dotted with colors

            Children playing as penguins

            Making snow mustaches and beards

 

A splash of melting snow.

Copyright (c) Lydia A. Schultz