Sunday, August 21, 2016
There we were drifting together on the choppy Big Lake,
lit up in the sun like safety buoys bobbing to and fro,
our youngest dripping wet and cradled quietly in my lap.
Fragrant pine and cool waves crested our floaties over and over
as the Mama pulled us farther out from shore bound together,
the water only knee deep these days due to years of drought.
Beatrice and cousin Braxton shared joyous laughter
while Bryce kissed me on the forehead, shivering.
I teased, "Bryce, I'm scared! Please save me! Save me!"
She giggled, "Daddy, you're big! You're not afraid of anything!"
Her words settled like silt, fathoms deep in my heart,
and in a mere moment a hundred thousand years passed
where they fossilized into layers of a hard time with happy.
You're not afraid of anything!
But I am, Bryce.
Of some things that is.
Not as much as I used to be.
But there are resurgent fears
now that you and your sister are here.
I'm afraid of growing old and of maybe getting sick,
of losing the Mama, your amazing mother, my wife.
I'm afraid you'll lose us like I lost mine
and that maybe we'll lose you both before our time.
I'm afraid you'll be bullied by unforgiving teens
and be hurt by a lifetime of minimized misogyny.
I'm afraid of perpetual ignorance, prejudice and fear,
and the fact that true justice no longer prevails
and in the blink of an eye good people can and do die.
I'm afraid that our economy will tank again
and everything we have will again be at risk
and that you won't have half the opportunities
we've had that were half of what our parents had.
I'm afraid that our democracy might one day fail
and that maybe that day is already here.
I'm afraid there is no God.
And I'm afraid that there is one.
I'm afraid of being accused of something I never did
and of never forgiving others for something they've done
and of always regretting something from near and afar
and of never having the chance to reconcile the lot.
I'm afraid of everything and nothing, Bryce.
It's you and your sister and your mother
who help quell most if not all my fears
and fill me with a hope and a love unending,
and who I will fight for and with
until the very end of time,
or until the end of our time,
or until the end of mine.