Becoming a parent
Is an immediate summons
To accept a lifetime responsibility.
The first moment you hold your infant,
Limp as a warm load of laundry,
You marvel in the power of God
To present you with this treasure,
So long hoped for.
As carefully you cradle the wobbling head
Of your jewel, newly quarried
From a mine of suffering,
You resolve with your spouse
To make the guardianship
Of your baby daughter,
With God’s help,
A paramount purpose in life.
When you walk the floor
With your colicky little one,
Your half-closed eyes, gritty embers,
Pleading for sleep,
You vow to be her watchtower always,
Where she is protected,
Eased from pain.
When she arrives at the terrible “two’s,”
Her watchword “no,”
Punctuated by the stamp
Of a stubborn foot,
You pray for patience
To gently guide those tiny feet
Along a proper path.
As she carelessly carries in tiny palm,
Pieces of your heart,
To kindergarten that first day,
Your commitment for her care
Is not one whit lessened,
Even though you must now entrust
Your little pearl
Into others’ part-time keeping.
You observe with pride
In your precious gem’s childhood
And tumultuous teenage years,
The way she exhibits,
Through triumphs and disappointments,
The promise of the woman she will become.
While you embrace your required roles:
Nurse, policeman, chauffeur, judge,
You dispense an endless supply
Of hugs and kisses,
Holding ever foremost
The vow you made,
The obligation you gladly accepted
For her keeping.
Celebrating milestones through the years
With your cherished charge,
You gather memories
Like sweet grapes from the vine.
Then when you see her,
A radiant white diamond,
Standing at the altar
To exchange holy vows of marriage
With the young man
For whom you have prayed,
You recall the pledge you made
To guard her life,
And you thank God
For the wealth she has brought to you,
And for all His help thus far
On this ephemeral road.
You resolve anew
To be faithful in your prayers
And to be a shining lighthouse
For your daughter, as well as her husband,
As you look forward joyously
To a wonderful new treasure—
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