God, hear these sixteen prayers
that I am praying for sixteen good reasons.
I’ve loved her sixteen years,
protected and nurtured her each and every day.
Sixteen birthdays she’s made wishes
on cakes baked by my hands.
Sixteen years of trying to give good advice
and about a million “Be carefuls.”
And now, at this age of sixteen
when all the world is coming up roses,
my prayer for her is “Be yourself.”
And if she cannot see the dangers I see
and if all roads seem good,
and if all friends seem trustworthy,
give her a keen sense of the laws of nature;
that gravity applies to her,
and acceleration and velocity;
that all her sixteen years
cannot protect her from the words she speaks
and the fact that what is hastily given
cannot be easily retrieved.
Sixteen spells innocent and
sixteen spells accountable.
God our Mother protect this dear one
as I have longed to protect her
from the day you gave her into my arms
sixteen years ago.