Softer than my deserving

Sometimes a poem or a sentence line up so directly with my experience I must tell it.

Granted, I spent most of yesterday coming out of the blue fog of anesthesia (I guess I have a slippery colon because both the doctor and nurse commented several times that it was a very tricky one to maneuver. “Never seen anything like it,” commented the very punctual and schedule-oriented anesthesiologist when I waved to her in my groggy funk.) So yes, it was a particular challenge to keep track of the boys and their needs while trying to get something on the table for dinner because part of my problem was sheer lack of nutrients.

I discovered G had colored all over his play kitchen in blue crayon. I mean, All Over. And here I thought he was just being super cute, wanting to be like Handy Manny with a pencil behind his ear. It should have tipped me off when he kept breaking the crayons and having me replace them. But like I said, blue fog of anesthesia.

Jonah was dead set on doing an experiment involving vinegar, baking soda, water and a balloon. I tried, I really did, to make that happen; but when I finally got out of my chair and to the kitchen, the black hole of my pots-and-pans cabinet overwhelmed me as I tried to locate the funnel. Enter poem.

Nursery, 11:00 p.m.

Asleep, the two of you,
daughter and son, in separate cribs,
what does it matter to you
that I stand watching you now,
I, the mother who did not smile all day,
who yelled, Go away, get out, leave me alone
when the soup-pot tipped over on the stove,
the mother who burned the muffins
and hustled bedtime, tight-lipped.
You are far away,
beyond reach of whispered
amends. Yet your calm
breathing seems to forgive,
into the air to mesh
like lace, knitting together
the holes in the dark.
It makes of this dark
one whole covering
to shawl around me.
How warm it is, I think,
how much softer
than my deserving.

Robyn Sarah

I was the mother half yelling “Can you just do your own thing so I can make dinner?!” while thinking I just need you to take care of yourselves right now. Please.¬†Nevermind all my good reasons/excuses for doing so. None were good enough. But my boys are still like the dogs. They forgive me in a moment. They just want a hug and to know everything is okay with me, that everything is okay with them. I know this will not always be so. They will grow up and it will be harder to forgive, in part because they won’t need me so much. That whole balance of power thing.

But now their forgiveness still “makes of this dark / one whole covering / to shawl around me. / How warm it is… / how much softer / than my deserving.”

rotten tree hug


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