Stolen Summer

A stolen day at the beach
in exchange for a stolen summer.
I watch from a distance –
always a safe distance –
as families frolic in the sun,
trying to forget for a while
how the world has so irrevocably
changed.
I sweat out all the pain of our separation,
but revel in the joy of it, too,
the relief of not having to try so hard
to be heard,
the peace of mind, the lack of pressure,
using this time to reconnect to myself,
indeed, to the very source of myself,
building emotional resilience,
strengthening my boundaries,
not to keep you out,
but to let you know how close
it’s okay to come.
As the ocean waves pummel my delighted child,
I pray he faces all his future challenges
with similar glee,
not the way I have,
with trepidation at every turn.
I wish I knew how to swim,
that I could promise us all safe passage through life.
But the high tide is coming in now,
and it’s every man for himself.