I am that mom

April 8th, 2014

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I am that mom who failed at breastfeeding
or should I say, gave up too soon
listened all night for the cough
the cry the whimper
held you limp in a steamy bathroom
called the doctors the neighbors
the teachers
asked for prayers and gave them back, too.
I am the mom who cut the crusts off
sliced the grapes
packed the lunch as my body and blood
Cheez-Its
Nutella
Kellogg
Kraft
Campbell’s
GoGurt
Fruit Loops
a sorry sack of my sins
which you survived.
Yes, let me tell it. You survived.
I am the mom who read the note.
Signed the paper. Told the time.
Got you there. Picked you up.
Fifteen minutes early I am that mom.
On the curb at the door inching forward.
So you don’t wait or wonder.
Don’t wait or wonder.
I am the mom who sweats the small stuff.
Hand washes in cold.
Hangs your clothes up to dry.
Plugs in the twinkle lights.
Fluffs, straightens, tucks.
Combs the lice.
Boils the hairbrush.
Reminds, reminds, reminds.
The field trip, the mid-term, the final.
And then —
I am the mom who is not you.
Doesn’t know you. Cannot be you.
Lets you stand, and fall, and leave.
I am the mom and you are a world beyond your mom.
A life, a heart, a song.
A rainbow, a rosebud.
A bird on the wing, come to visit one day
outside my window, and then gone.
I am that mom.

13 Comments »

  1. Thank you for condensing the last 35 years of my life into one breathtakingly beautiful work of art.

    Comment by Caitlin — April 8, 2014 @ 11:42 am

  2. Were you channeling me as you wrote this? I want to give this to my daughter when she is a teenager.

    I feel big love for you.

    Comment by Kathryn — April 8, 2014 @ 12:07 pm

  3. This evening I told my daughter she should give a toy back she had gotten 4 years ago. The lady who made it has young grandchildren now. And in her eyes I saw tears welling up, I understood the sadness, not for the toy but for the sadness of growing out of the child she once was.
    Breaking my heart.

    Comment by Simone — April 8, 2014 @ 1:02 pm

  4. This is beautiful. Thank you.

    Comment by wyobirdie — April 9, 2014 @ 11:08 am

  5. This is heartachingly beautiful and distills motherhoood into one lovely poem . . . my daughter is 34 now . . .

    Comment by Sharle Kinnear — April 9, 2014 @ 12:57 pm

  6. I think they are born 34, but it can take us that long to realize it! Thank you.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — April 9, 2014 @ 1:04 pm

  7. I would love to be that mom once again. The years when they are little are but a wisp of time. The best time. Nothing is better than to hold them in your arms. You are there everything just for a short time. The best time.

    Comment by Latona Dorrell — April 9, 2014 @ 3:15 pm

  8. You have summed up all that I feel in one beautiful poem. My son turned 18 today, and between getting his driver’s license, going on college trips, he some how grew up right in front of me, and although my brain knows that this is my job to raise an independent young man, my heart breaks for the little boy that once was. Thank you.

    Comment by Darasue Lyons — April 9, 2014 @ 6:12 pm

  9. My children are still quite young but reading this feels like remembering the future, I imagine this is exactly how I will feel the day our oldest goes to college, my son gets married, our youngest moves away etc. Bittersweet.

    Comment by Corie — April 18, 2014 @ 6:09 pm

  10. Gorgeous. Thank you.

    Comment by Lynne Childress — April 19, 2014 @ 12:04 pm

  11. I am that dad.
    Unique job.
    Difficult job.
    Fulfilling job.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Paul Brennan — April 25, 2014 @ 3:16 am

  12. Oh this is so sweet. Reading right before Mother’s Day! sniffle..I am that Mom too.
    Sherry

    Comment by Sherry — May 6, 2014 @ 10:12 am

  13. Your text struck a cord. Like Corie said it, it “feels like remembering the future”. I am only just getting used to the idea that there is someone in this world who calls me mom (text in Dutch). And, yet, someday we have to separate. When the day comes, I hope to be that mom: sad but proud.

    Comment by Sylvia — May 14, 2014 @ 5:15 am

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