Poems & Essays

16 Jun

it is time tho

General/Column 4 Responses

I text you in complete sentences:
In a few weeks our lives
are going to change forever
when you leave for college.
You aren’t going to ever live
with me again unless
you come home in the summer.
Maybe, I thought—
but we know how
these things go with adult children,
the Cat in the Cradle syndrome
that I never understood
until I became a father.
You responded to my text:
it is time tho.
Simple as that,
one line
matter of fact
that is that–
it is time tho.

So I begin to compromise
with your four-word response,
one word not even
grammatically correct,
making believe
that perhaps I have done
such a good job at parenting
that you are ready
for your next steps.
you have no fear of where
you will land these next few weeks
thanks to me
these past 18-years.

I double back on myself, tho,
recalling all my mistakes
and laugh out loud:
This had nothing to do with me;
you haven’t needed me since you were ten
and to put it simply, maybe
it is time.

My struggle continues
back and forth,
back and forth
like silty waves hitting
a briny beach

It has been a
lamentable time–
an emptier space
with only
your photo and your favorite chair
that wobbles on the brink
of forever ago
when your legs once
dangled over its edge,
looking for a place to
stick a perfect landing;
a closet of dwindling clothes
picked through,
some sold
others hoarded into a duffle
ready at a moment’s notice,
stashed in a temporary corner
like a soldier waiting for her

My torn heart resides with you
while you plan your exodus,
but can you believe
there was a time
when I thought
how nice it would be
to have you far away
on your own,
thinking secretly to myself:
is it time?



Eric Roller is a college recruiter and teacher who lives in Port Angeles, WA.  He enjoys helping young people find their unique voices through writing and being in the outdoors.  He has two children who have both left home to pursue their dreams, both of whom he loves very much.

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Would you like to join the discussion? Feel free to contribute!

  1. Ingrid

    June 17, 2019 at 12:28 am

    Right through the heart.

  2. Melissa Hart

    February 4, 2020 at 7:02 pm

    As the mother of a 13-year-old girl, this made me weep, Eric. Beautifully, candidly written. Unforgettable.

  3. Rina Valdez

    April 14, 2020 at 11:12 am

    It seems like we have shared these thoughts another time, when the world was smaller and so were our children. Sleepless nights browsing the internet for comfort and I run across THIS. It’s beautiful. It’s perfect.

  4. Randy

    June 4, 2020 at 5:27 pm

    Eric, this lovely poem reminds me of my “little girl”, now 39 years old but STILL…that very beautiful spot in a Daddy’s heart that holds on his daughter. This poem both pierces and heals. Thank you.


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