When she was born her parents together made a silent pledge

Whenever she would need it…they would take her to the edge.


And there on the edge together…high up in the sky

they would teach her everything they knew…

give her all the skills she’d need to fly.


They were there on the edge the moment she learned

to run, to walk…to crawl….

all the time whispering in her ear

“Don’t worry…You can do this…and we will catch you if you fall.”


They were with her on the edge of her fear

whenever her courage swayed

Smiling all the time whispering in her ear,

“It’s okay to be afraid.”


“You will fail.” They whispered.

“But never let a fail cause your dreams to die….

Yes, it’s disappointing when you fail….

but it’s a tragedy…not to try.


They never told her of their silent pledge

only repeating often, “We believe in you.”

and they were smiling proudly on the edge

when she spread her wings…and flew

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I’m revisiting an old poem…call it a form of poetic cheating…

but I believe this old poem has a message worth repeating:


When each of our three children and four grandchildren were born…

we celebrated the day...


Back then, we didn’t care about their gender…

if they were bi

or straight

or gay.


We only cared they were alive...had all their body parts...

that they were breathing on their own...and came with healthy hearts.


As they’ve grown we continue to celebrate them a little every day..

and we care about them but we do not care…

if they are bi

or straight

or gay.


We only care that they are close to us...that in their lives...we play a part

that they all have gentle souls...and kindness in their hearts


Our reason is quite simple...and to this we both avow

If we didn’t care when they were born...

Why...would we care now?

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When he was young and the fear he’d dream of monsters filled his mind with dread

his mom made him a Dreamcatcher and hung it above his bed.


“Whenever you start to dream, “ she said. “That’s when this Dreamcatcher’s work begins…it catches all your bad dreams and only let’s the good ones in.”


That Dreamcatcher worked like magic!  

From that moment all his dreams were sweet and all his nights were calm….

and he often wondered…was the magic in the Dreamcatcher…

or was the magic in his mom?


When she was young…waking up Saturday mornings…

she felt excited…happy…blessed…

Her dad would make her pancakes….

In any size, or shape or color she’d request.


Her dad was an artist…a magician with the batter…

whatever she could dream up…he’d create…

and she couldn’t wait til he was finished to see the magic on her plate.


When she thinks back to those Saturday mornings…

to the best pancakes she ever had…

she often wonders…was the magic in those pancakes…

or was the magic in her dad?


Isn’t it amazing how often the simplest act a parent does…

be it bad dreams they are catching…

or pancake wishes they are granting….

can charm their child’s sleep at night…

and make their morning so enchanting.

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Through the years of watching our children and grandchildren grow…they never left a doubt…as to those things that were important to them…and those things they never cared about.


They never cared if we were old or bald…or short or tall or fat.

They never cared about our physical flaws…(Boy, were we glad of that!)


They never cared if our house was small…or if the ceiling had a crack.

They never cared if the lawn was mowed…or that there was no grass in the back.


They never cared how much money we had…if we drove a Mercedes or Jaguar…

They never cared if there were scratches or dents…or parts missing from our car.


They only cared that we loved them…and that we somehow found a way

to show them that we loved them…each and every day.


They cared if we were honest and fair…that we were accepting, generous and kind

They cared that we nurtured their hearts, their souls…and helped to improve their minds……


They cared that we spent time with them…and the last time that I checked..

They cared if we treated them with tenderness…with humanity…and respect.


How blessed we’ve been to watch our children and grandchildren grow…

and of this we have no doubt:

They taught us more about life and how to live it…

by the things they never cared about.


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I was leafing through my mom’s old bible that’s sat on our shelf since she died

when two pieces of paper floated out and landed by my side


Two old photos I hadn’t seen before…photos I never knew she had…

Photos of two soldiers…one my mom and one my dad.


On the back of the two photos…five words in faded grey

written in each other’s hand…’you take my breath away”


Photos they must have given each other before war tore them apart

Photos that, while in their youth, showed the essence of their hearts. 


I imagine they kept these photos with them…to help see them through the war

I imagine they kept them near their hearts…like so many soldiers had before.


And when they returned home again…safe, secure…unharmed…

the pictures were not needed for they had each others arms…


So they found a final resting place- their job was now complete..

in a page in Mom’s old bible…until they landed at my feet…


Two photos from a time I didi not know them…when their love was new and strong

Two photos that…after reading them…I tucked back where they belong.


Perhaps it’s a bit egotistical of me…and certainly it’s wrong

but I never thought much about my parents lives before I came along…


But reading the back of those two photos…

from another time…

another day…

made me smile for a moment 

as they took my breath away.

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When he was but a child his parents often smiled

when he wanted them to read him Peter Pan.

And when they read, “the end." he’d say, “Please, read it all again.”

“This time a little slower if you can.”


So they’d read it all again…and again and again and again

for that is what mothers and fathers do

because if it is loved by their son…and he is having fun

they find…they love it too.


When she was a but child her parents often smiled

when she wanted to climb their tallest tree.

She would climb up and down and then… say, “I want to climb again

there is still so much up there I want to see”.


So they’d watch her climb again…and again and again and again

for that is what mothers and fathers do

because if it is loved by their daughter…when they stand under that tree and spot her

they find…they love it too.


But sons and daughters grow…as all parents know

for life is nothing if not fleet.

The woman and the man move on from climbing trees and Peter Pan

and keeping up with what they love’s no easy feat.


So they watch and often worry as life seems to scurry

trying to love what they love too.

Their children may no longer heed them 

but they will be there if they need them

for that is what loving parents do.


And though they’re sad life moves so fast…from the present to the past

there is one thing that keeps parents happy too…

As they ride life’s ebb and flow…they are overjoyed to know

the things their children love may change

but not the who.


And there will come a day…when they are old and grey…

(for this is exactly what parents do)

A day they’ll look back when they can…

and remember climbing trees and Peter Pan


and they’ll remember how they loved them too…

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Why is it parents love to stand

quietly…without making a peep

if only for a moment

and watch their children sleep?


Could it be they love to see

in that moment soft and mild

the beauty of pure innocence

the angel in the child?


Could it be in that moment

with no reason to worry, to fret, to call them 

they are praying for their children’s happiness

and that no harm shall befall them?


That they just want their children to know

as they float on slumber’s stream

they will be there in the day to protect their hopes


and at night…to guard their dreams.

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Do your parents ever talk to you…even when they’re not here…or they’re dead?

Do you sometimes, when you least expect it, hear their voices in your head?


When you need a soothing smile…when you’re feeling sad or blue

When you close your eyes can you see them…standing next to you?


When you have a difficult decision…a complicated choice

Do you hear their words of wisdom…or a sympathetic voice?


When something wonderful has happened…do you suddenly become aware

If only for an instant…they are smiling…standing there?


Do you wonder if it’s just your imagination…or could this fact be true

that your parents…even when they’re gone, are still a part of you.


Which means throughout your life…even times you’re on your own

when you stop and think about it…you will never be alone..


Because you’re parents even when their not around are acting in your stead

and you’ll be blessed throughout your life to hear their voices in your head…


So the next time you hear your parents…hear those old familiar sounds

Smile…knowing they are close by…even when they’re not around.


And if it’s any consolation…long after you are dead

your children, when they least expect it…


will hear your voices in their heads.

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When our first child is born

we celebrate the day

at that moment we don’t care

if they are bi or straight or gay


We only care they are alive…

have all their body parts...

that they are breathing on their own…

and come with healthy hearts.


And each time we are blessed with a child

we celebrate that day

still not caring at that moment

if they are bi

or straight

or gay.


We only care that they are close to us…

that in their lives we play a part

that they all have gentleness in their souls…

and kindness in their hearts


And so parents of the world I ask this question: 

As we think back to our initial vow…

If we didn’t care when they were born…


Why should we care now?

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