They make their way surely through a jungle,
Helped by you, the progenitor not just of youth
But of their passing off into a mist.
You will not see it coming, though you will feel it.
You will not be told the date of departure
And it will descend upon you like a frontal storm.
They will have unseemly goals, toward which they strive,
And you will see mistakes but can say nothing.
And if you dare speak, will not be heard.
So they, like mariners of old, venture onto fog-bound seas,
With half-built ships and dreams of gold
That outweigh whatever you might say.
Yet sometime, on the least expected day
They will return to the same land as you,
Hesitant to speak about what they’ve learned.
And many things that they say and do
(Embarrassed versions of you),
Trouble them with a newfound weight
Carrying experience through a gate
And you say, “Stay a while.”
For you can never knew if they only rest,
On their trip to further lands.
Or, without knowing, intend to bide,
And someday cease to roam.
All you can do is hold out your hand
And tell them, “Welcome home.”
Written for our son's birthday, 2015