Your fervent hopes that I write
“something about children”
is a mother’s nature revealed.
By their selfless love,
they second their lives to those of their children.
To write of children is to write of mothers.
Five years of life stares down
through coal buttons of mischief and wonders.
Are these groggy, surly people
really in control of the world out there?
The world of five is bound by a desire
for no boundaries,
to be with the big people,
but there are compensations for masks
and early bedtimes: shielded
from the jags and gouges of a world
outside Transformers, morning TV, Bubble-O-Bills,
kindergarten Picassos and a mother’s love.
Six months of life
represents the investment of a lot of breast milk
as he gurgles in his bouncer,
throwing a curve ball smile
through his rusk-besmirched mouth.
His perimeters are smaller than his brother’s,
wind and tears and the succour of the breast
while the faces of giants fill his vision
and huge hands lift him skyward.
And always there is mother,
balancing her day with theirs,
shepherding, nurturing, cajoling them
towards that, over which she has no control:
Three generations: my mother; myself; my son, Thomas; Christine, Thomas' mother circa 2000
Thomas with his grandmother circa 2001
POET'S NOTE: I wrote this poem many years ago at the behest of a cousin's wife, a woman for whom I have great affection. It is specifically about her and her two children, but, despite whatever changes take place in the world and in society, mothering probably doesn't become any less difficult nor, conversely, any less rewarding. I dedicate this post to Mothers and the wonderful job they do all over this great big world of ours.