Father

Daddy, Dad, Papa, Father,

the names we have for our own,

the names our own call us.

So much bound up in one little word

for the man we invest with our trust.

 

“I’ll fix it!”

 

Baby, if you only knew

how new you are to me.

But how complicated can you be?

Just some biology, right?

 

Honey, where’s her mute button?

She didn’t come with one?

She’s fed.

Her diaper’s changed

I’m sooo tired…

“I can fix this.”

 

What kind of homework do you have?

A project?

When is it due?

Tomorrow morning?!

Okay, let’s get started.

 

The school dance?

She’s not that old!

She IS that old?

How did she get that old?

 

“I can’t fix this.”

 

High School, maybe college, a job, her own baby

and the cycle’s complete.

Like shampoo, rinse, repeat

and I still can’t get any sleep.


“God, help me fix this.”

A grandfather?

I can’t be that old!

I AM that old?

How did I get to be this old?!

 

One day I’m carrying you,

the next you’re holding me.

And in a flash life happens,

filling the pages in between.

 

God, our perfect father,

If we’re wise, we look to you first

To help us raise little humans

at their best and at their worst.

 

There is a book, after all,

though dads are loath to read instructions.

But first things first, can you help me

find my reading glasses?

©Joel Tipple
#6/16

Don’t Make it Silent

All the earth stood still
that night he arrived
for the Savior of the world
with His family in flight.
But I imagine he cried,
so not for long
was it a silent night.

Children all around the world tonight
are also with their families in flight.
Running from war and famine and fright.
As we celebrate Jesus’ birth,
the light
we’ve received
is responsible sight.
Speak up for the children.
Don’t let them be denied.
With your prayer and hands and feet
and voice
please fight.
Please don’t be
silent tonight.

© Joel Tipple
358

Walking Around

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Lord, do you think it’s breaking?
Can you confirm the sound?
They say when you have children
it’s like your heart out there
walking around.

Walking around out there in the world,
a boy, a girl, or both.
Forever young though years may pass,
the cord feels like a rope.
Lord I know you’ve been there,
so I won’t waste words complaining
it isn’t fair.

Lord I know we can be
a little melodramatic,
and parents throughout the ages
have been correctly described as frantic.
But since you gave us each a heart,
perhaps share the reasons,
and as long as we’re going through it,
help us survive the seasons.

Walking around out there in the world,
an evolution of trust.
A joy and burden all wrapped up,
though we try not to fuss.
Mentioned in our prayers often,
if not more.
A wise parent focuses on the gratitude score.

© Joel Tipple
307

Green Granddaughter

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This week I managed to go out three times cycling, twice to work, which is 15 miles away. Since my bike is part of my exercise plan and a way to save money on gas, I came home satisfied, though tired. As I came through the back door, I could hear my six-year-old granddaughter in the living room, so I went in to say hello.

Me: “Hey Cynthia, how was school?”
Cynthia: “Good. Hey Papa, why are you wearing that?”
Me: “These are my cycling clothes. I rode my bike three times this week. Isn’t that cool?”
Cynthia: “Yeah. Hey Grandma, Papa’s recycling!”

© Joel Tipple

A Season of School

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We are,
each one of us,
seasoned by school.
Beginning when we first learn
to stand in line
and hold hands.
And though we never get over wishing it otherwise,
we know some lessons learned by
our children
and grandchildren
will be learned the hard way, such as:
Not everyone likes me. Some people just cannot be pleased, no matter what.
I will find some tasks fun and exciting, while merely tolerating
or being greatly frustrated by others. How I learn to handle both reactions
will have repercussions in every other area of my life, as well.
Just when I think I’ve got something or someone figured out, up will pop
the exception to the rule.
Even though I will seem to spend eternities waiting for summer,
it will all fly by faster and faster.
I won’t be able to magically impart this to my children or grandchildren, either,
but that’s okay.

To Read

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As a child
it amazed me
that people
could write things
almost as incredible
as the stuff in my mind.

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Do you mean
you can write those things down,
and people will read them,
adding their own sounds?

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It’s hard to find words
to describe
how much words
mean to me.
It’s like living in a city
that grows
new streets every day.

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I hope growing up
doesn’t mean
I stop loving
the words in the books…
the stories in the books…
the adventures in those books…
that I read today.

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© Joel Tipple