When you were small, I observed to my mother that my reflexes were faster, better trained, clumsy/awkward girl that I was before you. You see, I spend my motherhood trying desperately to catch you - an outstretched arm, a wild grab. Don't trip, don't fall, don't run away, don't grow up. But you don't wait for permission, and you don't slow down to allow me to catch up. I've never been ready for the being that is you (although how could I ever have been prepared), your energy, your love, your life have always caught me by surprise. It was not an option, I couldn't fail, I couldn't ever be less than you needed, and yet, I cannot ever succeed in being what you deserve, this endless parent-sized paradox in which we find ourselves. Thus, you dragged me along out of my childhood, and into yours, you old soul, you wise babe. And now, you have my long legs, and my passionate arguments, and my bleeding heart, and you run farther out of reach, with your height scratched ever higher on the door post, with your long legs, your likes and dislikes that are no longer reflections of mine. I struggle to keep up, but you'll always outrace me, a small, fierce sun just over the horizon, but lighting the path back into grace.
Last night, as I was cuddling with and singing to A before putting her in her bed, she suddenly threw her arms around me and said: "I love your hugs, Mommy. They're so squishy."
I laughed so much that she kept repeating it, which obviously just made me laugh harder.
Having a toddler is hard work (and I'm not even the at-home parent!), but good grief, they're so cute.
On my desultory way home from work
I saw a book on the sidewalk
A simple paperback novel
No identifying marks at this distance and speed
No nearby potential owner searching with purposeful steps
Only words on pages fluttering aimlessly in the sweltering sun
How did it get there, this literary discrepancy?
Thrown, perhaps, in a fit of pique at an unwanted turn of events
Or discarded as trash due to uninteresting tales
Fallen out of a bag, greatly missed later
Perhaps this was someone's only treasure
Or an excuse for unfinished homework
Now lying, incongruous, where books are never placed intentionally
I hope that it is claimed by an appreciative finder
I can't bear the thought of words unread
I walk a fine line sometimes, when it comes to the health of my family members.
The children of physicians ourselves, my siblings and I never saw other doctors (at least once we were past vaccine age), and the same goes for my kids. I remember being so annoyed when my parents would downplay our cuts and bruises, but forbade us the trampoline and made us wear helmets. My mother would always say "We've seen what can happen," but I never appreciated the sentiment, of course.
Now, I know how to manage most of my childrens' ailments on my own, and I don't worry about a rash or a runny nose either, because I'm lucky enough to have the required knowledge. But sometimes, my children will develop a symptom or sign - my daughter's lips turn blue while she sleeps, my son complains of "heart" pain. They don't turn out to be serious, but for a few moments, I think of all the diseases or outcomes that could happen - a catalog of the worst possible scenarios presents itself, things that I almost wish I didn't even know about, so that the idea wouldn't make me freeze in sudden terror. Sometimes, I wonder whether it may be better to fear the worst when you don't know exactly what the worst is.
Such is the price of knowledge.
Sometimes I wonder
Curious that I am
About the private dramas
I'll never know
Having been the child
Of appropriate parents
(Or perhaps wrapped
In youth's self-absorption)
When I think about
All the small things
In my own adulthood
That are so deeply felt
Yet with a bit of time
Are revealed to be quite shallow
I find gratitude
That such secrets
Shall remain bits of dross
In the memory of my family