Today I sat on lava rocks
as the gossamer Pacific mist moistened my face,
and the sound of waves
combed through the knots in my mind.
You smart girls could not resist joining me there.
I watched from behind as you grew bolder with each set of waves.
You stripped away pieces of clothing
until you stood bare-chested,
facing the surf.
You held hands as the rollers approached,
gathering strength for the unpredictable moments ahead,
your small bodies taut with anticipation.
Some waves only lapped at your ankles – you scoffed at those.
Others made you brace and grab each other for stability.
Most made you shriek with joy.
But a few scared you just a little,
with a force that you recognized as well beyond your control.
When they receded, with hands still interlaced, you would turn those naked chests
toward the crashing vastness and shout:
“IS THAT ALL YOU’VE GOT???”
It took my breath away.
For there are, it breaks my heart to say,
circumstances tucked into your future
that will threaten your faith in this life -
things you never thought would happen to you,
and might make you wonder if love makes sense.
You will feel as though your strong legs simply won’t hold you, and
like something inside you is at risk.
How I wish I could prevent those times for my beautiful girls.
This afternoon, though, I was given a glimpse of your power.
Innocent though you are now, at 8 and 12 years old,
there was something raw and unmistakably robust
about the way you faced that raucous sea.
So here is what I know:
keep hold of each other’s hands
and you will survive it all.
Be grateful for each other every day,
and you will laugh your tears away in the end.
Promise me you will.