Parental Guidance Recommended

I have wondered
whether other parents
feel the same pangs of regret
that I sometimes feel,

retracing and reliving
some of the more notable
mistakes I made,

some the simple sort we make
when emotions collide
and the tide of the day
washes up over us
and we say something
or do something
that we wouldn’t have
except the critical mass of disobedience
exceeded the momentary capacity
for patience and wisdom

and wrath rose up out of us
like some possessing demon.

But the ones that ache me the deepest
are ones I made calmly,
coldly and indifferently
choosing some pretentious virtue
over what was good and gentle,

And yet, even in the ache,
I make my way toward forgiveness,
seeing in my children’s children
proof that ultimately
love will prevail
and each generation
will share its tales and its tortures.

And I give thanks
that my children and I
have lived long enough
to like each other again.

H. Arnett

About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Ark City, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-nine years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-eight grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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