May 2024, 3rd: My Son

Does pride dissolve, slowly leak away
through years of thwarted hopes.
It was there at those first smiles,
smiles that brought pure joy.

There at that first wobbly step.
Shared pride in tied shoe laces
and oddly buttoned shirts.
Arms that clung around my neck.

Proud of kindy commendations,
gap toothed smiling photographs.
Pride in that first football goal
and those birthday party invites.

Pride in excellent exam results,
scholarship to a prestige school.
I excuse the early warning signs
and pray that all will yet be well.

Doesn’t puberty explain the moods
that swing from such exuberance
to abject sadness and withdrawal.
Surely this is just a passing phase.

Let it be a temporary distortion
of once clear and rational thought.
A reaction to my constant focus
tracking every shifting mood.

Pride in how he sadly complies
to the merry-go-rounds of tests,
councillors and trials of medication.
Soon deemed useless and rejected.

Self-medicating now to dull the voices.
Each absence welcomed with relief.
Contrite over ugly words and deeds.
This stranger with echoes of my son.

Hope of our bright shared future now
replaced by fear, anxiety and vigilance.
In shame I hide my son – caused bruises.
Still remembered love and pride cling on.

© Tropical Writers Inc 2024

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