One: Twenty-Three

Its 4 AM, time to rise; minus 20 once again.
I start the van and shovel out; you get your lunch prepared.
Few words are ever spoken; none are really needed.
Knowing what we’re supposed to do; something we’ve always shared.

Each day I linger for a while after the bus has left the lot.
Too early yet to think that much, but the heart can always feel.
No matter: airplane, bus or train, the sight of it receding
stirs ghosts of ancestors boarding ships, their hardships all so real.


You want to be an engineer—not something that comes easy,
but I’ve never seen you back down or regret the paths you chose.
Those long hours at the table, that dedicated search for work terms
now, two semesters left to go; that next step seems so close.

And I think, each and every time we make that early morning drop-off,
how so many of our youth go away for work. Will you be another one?
Is watching you board that bus preparation for a greater leaving?
With each round of practice it gets no easier saying, “so long, Son.”


But sometimes the quiet is broken by your eternal opener: “Dad???”
A smile; geek to geek communication is really not all that strange
and your questions that catalyze responses from this team of two nerds
brings comfort knowing distance can never silence that exchange.


About Maurice A. Barry

Coordinator: Teaching and Learning Commons, Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Parent & Husband. eLearning consultant/coordinator. Program Development Specialist - eLearning (Department of Education; Retired). Writer: over 40 Math/Physics texts/webs. Developer & Manager of web content. Geek. Not into awards but loves comments.
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17 Responses to One: Twenty-Three

  1. Sheila mulrooney says:

    Really nice poem. Feelings that I can relate to.

  2. Mary says:

    Heartfelt poem – great theme and team!
    As always photos complement and extend the words.
    Hope Alan enjoys his tribute!

  3. I wonder, sometimes, whether our offspring recognize all the things we do in support of their futures. [Or should that be ‘our futures’?]. Then I switch from wondering to hoping that they do And, every once in a while, good kids that they are – they say just the thing that assures me on all counts. It’s quite clear that you’re a very good Dad indeed. A drop off, such as you describe, in the middle of June is one thing … doing the same in conditions which you are currently experiencing is above-and-beyond. Brr and Ugh. D

    • And guess what–it snowed the past two days. I had to shovel a bit both yesterday and today. It’s not terribly unusual this time of the year around here, just a bit of a bummer. On the bright side it’s going to a balmy three today 🙂
      But, no, I suppose they don’t realize–and perhaps neither did we when it was our time. Pay it forward, that’s the best advice.

  4. Josephine Barry says:

    I just knew I shouldn’t have read this!! I didn’t get through the first few sentences as tears ran uncontrollably down my cheeks . As parents we are not always fortunate to have our children close by as they reach their career goals. I always hope and pray if they have to move away that the distance is not too far. I read a bit of sadness in those words but nothing compared to the love and pride you have for our son. There is no doubt he is your son Maurice as you say geek to geek!! lol I love my geeks very much ❤️❤️

  5. jennypellett says:

    Ah, so much said here in a few beautifully chosen words. As parents we are so proud to see our offspring make their way in the world yet there’s a part of us that wants to reel them in and keep them close forever. I’m sure l’m not the only one sharing your sentiments.

  6. Tiny says:

    Beautiful sentiments, simply and elegantly expressed. It’s true that distance cannot silence the exchanges when the bond is strong, geek or not 🙂 Our son is soon 7 years out of college, busy professional with his own little family, but the exchanges are frequent and heart-warming.

  7. margber says:

    I’m just getting around to reading this beautiful poem now. Your words struck a chord in me. Having three sons myself, all out of the house now, I share your sentiments. Time goes so fast and before you know it, they are young men living on their own. Loved this!

  8. Marie says:

    Genuine and steadfast as both counsel and witness. These gifts of sight and presence are invaluable.

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