On Being a Mother

So often I have written about my own mother, and father too, as I try to depict their last journeys, and my childhood. I am mixing it up in honor of Mother’s Day, so my kids will know I write about them too!  One for the girls, one for the boy.

To Daughters I Did Not Birthe
On Mother’s Day
At first, we were polite,
thrown in to the stepfamily ring,
like boxers eyeing rivals.
Later, I cajoled you
to clean up your rooms.
When that failed, I called in
reinforcements. You still
spoke to me in the morn.
I have whooped and hollered
for your accolades,
cringed for you, at the invite
to mother-daughter teas.
I have sighed over the neckline
of dresses worn for prom, boys
you were dating, boys who were friends,
your health, happiness, and your hair.
We have called out names –
none worth repeating –
beneath fiery breaths.
Your pain has been mine,
as my mother slides
towards her immortal state.
We become the best mothers
when our own are gone,
though we still try
to measure up to memory.
Because you already understood,
perhaps its been you
these 2000 days
mothering and tending,
encouraging me
to step from the ring.
The Elegance of the Teenager
Your years have been pressed together –
between peanut butter sandwiches
or crusty glove and ball,
milestones disappearing in the crush.
You gesture for me to order first,
eat enough to wreck my credit,
save salad for dates with a girl.
You are happy on the track
splayed out in the sun,
after a solid 100m run.
“Ask anybody, they see me smiling.”
watching the scene, eyes full of poetry.
Later, we dance, quelled only by
awkwardness, The Piano Man,
and a baffling line dance,
in a gym corralling hormones
and sweat.
Prince drones on,
“Never gonna let the elevator
 break us down, oh no, let’s go
let’s go crazy, punch another floor.”
We stand – my shoulder to your waist –
for this musical jaunt
where the night has captured
all your teenage possibilities.

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