The best day of your life; a child is born!
Start out happy, but get ready to mourn.
You’ll try to keep them from all of life’s danger,
“Don’t eat that and don’t talk to a stranger.”
You read them the same ridiculous book,
Or play a game where you talk gobbledygook.
You feed them, house them, replace clothes outgrown,
Buy a Barbie, a car, and a new cell phone.
You persevere through the years of ennui,
Spend your savings on a college degree.
And then comes the day when they will announce,
Everything about you they must renounce.
Your views are too weak, or maybe too strong,
But “whatever” – you’re just totally wrong.
You remember what you did all along,
Your list of missteps is perhaps lifelong.
You tried very hard, you know that you did,
To do the best you could do for your kid.
Yet, no one you’ll find who’s better skilled in,
Ripping your heart out than your own children.


Steven Shaffer’s other art form is computer code, which supports his poetry habit. He lives in a suburb of the middle of nowhere in central Pennsylvania with his wife and two dogs. His blog is My So-Called Civilization 

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3 Responses

  1. E. V.

    Oh, wow! I loved this poem. You spoke to so many (perhaps most?) parents. Thank you for sharing this. I want to forward it to my own kids.

  2. Brigid Foley

    I loved your poem.. and as a mother myself i could really relate to it, well done.


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