As you think of your children,
Remember the years of their childhood,
Thousands of pictures flash
Across the screen of your mind.
When they are grown you yearn
For a gift of five minutes
To have them back in your arms,
Not just in your heart.
If one dies or is killed,
The pain overwhelms you.
Your heart becomes ice,
Splintering into fragments.
Like Humpty Dumpty
They can?t be put back together again.
The passage of time focuses your pain,
Narrows it into a sharp stab you feel less often
But more acutely.
The five minutes you wished to recapture
Emerge into an intense longing
For something more possible
But not necessarily available.
In the end, your heart covets one thing only,
The answer to a question you can never ask.
For the question asked
Would obliterate the meaning of the answer.
They have grown into a personhood of their own?
Unique and separate individuals.
They can become your cherished friends,
But they can no longer be your children.
You raised them to be free to love,
To put someone else first in their lives.
This is the best gift you gave them.
Now you hope they don?t remember you as a clock
That rushed them through the myriad appointments
Of childhood and adolescence,
But as a mother who loved them unconditionally,
Teaching, guiding, cherishing, and protecting them,
Calming their anxieties,
Considering them to be entirely desirable
Just as they were.
At last this is your only question:
Not just do they know you loved them
But do they remember how much they loved you?
Perhaps your only answer