a mother’s unmanifesto

November 10th, 2015

window1Do not be me.
Do not act like me, look like me, talk like me, live like me or remember me.
If you should, in some late season, see me in yourself, realize that I am long gone and happy to live forever in the deep well of your forgetting.
Forget my voice.
Absolutely, I mean it this time.
Even this voice!
Allow yourself the quiet I disturbed.
Remember instead what you said and what you did.
The things I overlooked.
The things I tried to change.
Your silliness.
Your friends.
Your fascinations.
Your refusal to listen to my worry and fear.
I was trying to turn you into me!
Find your heart.
Free your mind.
Use your feet.
Love your life and hate it, sometimes, too.
Everything is permitted.
Give yourself totally to your world.
Overrule me.
Remove my hands.
Escape my grip.
Kick me out of the house.
I will fly in on the starlight
between the cracks
through the gaps
in the empty veil of time
and watch you.
Silently watch you.
It’s all I ever wanted to do.
Love, Mom.

For my daughter, in tribute to my mother, with apologies all around.

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  1. Beautiful. Thank you. Always the reminder we need. I had the WORST dream last night that would normally mean I will hover extra long, and protect extra harder. And, I will, of course but I’ll do so with your words in the back of my mind. : )

    Comment by Shawn — March 25, 2013 @ 7:34 am

  2. This is such a profound and beautiful poem. I must share it with my daughters.

    Comment by marilee pittman — March 25, 2013 @ 7:40 am

  3. I cried when I read this, having spent the morning fretting over my oldest daughter. Being aware, always aware, of the impermanence of this moment and my pervasive need to hold on…..being aware of where I end and she begins. Overrule me…yes, overrule me and find your own voice.

    Comment by Susan — March 25, 2013 @ 7:45 am

  4. First class!

    Comment by adam fisher — March 25, 2013 @ 9:03 am

  5. Thank you very much. I never found those words.

    Comment by cindy kawaja — March 25, 2013 @ 5:42 pm

  6. Cannot read this without tears. Having just spent ten days with my own mom, I’m so aware of all the ways we’re alike, and I can’t imagine the world without her in it. And then I look in the mirror, and see: she’s in me. Exquisitely written, as always, my friend.

    Comment by Katrina Kenison — March 25, 2013 @ 5:45 pm

  7. So moved by this poem. Thank you for sharing it with us. I will keep it in my heart and share it with my daughters in the years to come.

    Comment by Rashmi — March 25, 2013 @ 7:09 pm

  8. Well, it only fair after great apologies to list the gifts each has given to the others involved.

    Comment by Bill Kirby — March 26, 2013 @ 4:01 am

  9. yep, despite my ongoing attempts to “influence” them, always relieved that they remain unalterably themselves

    thank you for putting it in to words; and a poem at that

    Comment by Kelly Salasin — March 26, 2013 @ 4:07 am

  10. Speechless. This is…wow.

    Comment by thekitchwitch — March 26, 2013 @ 5:02 am

  11. This is so beautiful and touches my soul. Thank you.

    Comment by Timmiera — March 26, 2013 @ 6:49 am

  12. Thank you so much for this! It’s a wonderful reminder as I’m parenting my son while holding myself up against an impossible-to-achieve memory of my mother.

    Comment by Tanya — March 27, 2013 @ 3:14 pm

  13. After my mother died I realized I could not remember the sound of her voice. I felt my brother was rather superior in his tone when he told me he had no problem remembering her voice. Now sometimes I hear not her voice, but things she would have said, when I speak. Lately I have become somewhat obsessed with worrying about leaving some financial security for my daughters. How foolish I have been. It will be what it will be. It is their life to live and I must live mine. All I wanted was for them to be happy. I know now that I cannot make that happen. It’s all up to them. Thank you, once again, for reminding me what is important.

    Comment by Jude — March 28, 2013 @ 2:36 am

  14. I love your poetry.

    Comment by Chris Lemig — March 28, 2013 @ 4:38 am

  15. Chris, I love your love.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — March 28, 2013 @ 6:57 am

  16. ohmygod. those last few lines are stuck in my throat. so beautiful.

    Comment by Rachel — April 4, 2013 @ 11:10 am

  17. Simply beautiful. I am so glad that I got to read this today.

    Comment by Erin@MommyontheSpot — April 4, 2013 @ 12:57 pm

  18. Thank you for this. I absolutely love it. Just beautiful!

    Comment by tali — April 10, 2013 @ 6:32 am

  19. A friend shared this post with me on Facebook. I am so glad she did. It’s beautiful! I’m shedding a tear right now.

    Comment by another jennifer — April 10, 2013 @ 1:35 pm

  20. love this. love love love it.

    Comment by Maureen — April 12, 2013 @ 8:10 am

  21. […] a mother’s unmanifesto […]

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  22. Absolutely beautiful writing. It moved me to tears.

    Comment by Paulissa — May 12, 2013 @ 7:34 pm

  23. Interesting, and amazingly well written. As I read it, I felt like the author was me; writing to my mom. You see, someone recently asked me when I grew up? Eight years old. From there I am finding my youth, while my mom loses her memory.

    Comment by Leanna Nelson — May 16, 2013 @ 4:15 pm

  24. I love you. Love, Me (especially the “mom Me”)

    Comment by Natasha — September 19, 2014 @ 3:20 pm

  25. Truly amazing. I have never met you, but your words change my life. Thank you.

    Comment by Gena Loyd — September 21, 2014 @ 10:36 am

  26. Oh I love this so much,thank you!

    Comment by lucy — March 29, 2018 @ 10:15 am

  27. ” Allow yourself the quiet I disturbed”
    Reading this brought me to tears. So much love ♡ I am humbled to know you.

    Comment by Bonnie Rae — August 25, 2018 @ 4:30 am

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