Love is a Toddler’s Waving Hand at 2

I’m a sappy mama duck ‘cuz it was the last day of classes for me with my middle schoolers. They go on to high school & that’ll be that. Neat, tied-up, and out. And that got me thinking of all the changes we plod through as moms, as teachers, as people.

And you must know by now, that i am weepy, poetic, & absolutely a romantic. Time marches on, but so do we.

1. Love is a backpacker

there is coming & going, & plopping it down.


our teaching, resilience–

how to sit out a storm like when we hiked

round the mountain & got caught in the weather of gunning hailstorms

and even forgot can opener

bash-in tuna cans on bolder


our counselors showed us slipping up

gripping thickest of meager trees

so steep was our climb

and then we made it.


to teach is to offer a little less

that what they think they need

and then, mystically, it is more.


2. New Play, New Roles:
(an underscore)

To mother:
You will tell your baby
climb off
I cannot be your bolder

right now


it is time to stop doing the thing

you have only known

the milk lip tongue tummy calm brain

into sleep movement

that has been ours forever

even shirtless when you were first hoisted onto me

our nakedness together

i offer, you offer


a step, a lever

a book

swinging strings of together

sunshine and swimming ducks

but there is (always a) goodbye in growing up

through moons and into that first month

and into a bed that will be spread over

adjacent then out of my room.
3. Carving out Boundaries
There are wobbly chins and pouty pouty lips

and all kinds of goodbyes.

There is trust

lingering in story time

handwaving at Goodnight Moon,

goodnight mush

goodnight child i pat on the tushie, hush.
The time I made the zoo book say bye to nursing,

bye bye to that which we’ve outgrown—

the giraffe just cannot fit in the too-short ceiling-swing

snake not right for this habitat.

Will you feed him mice??

And that lion!
How can we hold something so fierce and cage it and not let it roam

and tear flesh from bone.

Say goodbye and get him out of here.

Good bye, diapered boy with ringlets waves.

Bye Bye, thick paw, sweet twiggy fingers

you just want to gobble up

and kiss and sniff, it is that primal.

Tell him he is big, so big.

He is ready for food, so bye bye breast.
Hello big boy, big changes, cells multiplying and diving, no dividing,

but you’ve gotten trust the wiring’s now good, foundation is laid.

because it is done.

bye bye baby breath and all those sweet honeyed wisps of together, entwined.

bye bye anytime to rest to feel

like a together-mom:

simple act of being present, managing

our breast



we grow, hoist the sails

though it may not look

at first like what we need

it shall be.


we will cling onto twigs

climb onto logs

onto words of Big and Good and Proud and Love

like breadcrumb-nuggets of gold

and in the morning we will find we covered ground just by hunkering, forehead down

knees to the trees

wind died down.
4. Coming Home from Space

there is resilience in love.

a smoothness is stone.

loss is not loss if the next step is bigger,

next breathe wider, the plan, deeper

and knowing change.

that which is fixed will and will not change.

forever is how long you are son.

I forget until our closeness– just how near is breath

and lashes and a cheek, the shared heart rate, the both of us dreaming

simultaneously at 9:03 pm and again

close to 6, that

night time breath

which becomes air

and air, energy,

energy, words and tight tight hugs and                  fresh

start-thinking that plots

new ways to express the steady-love

and motion and change

and it forgets the pain of “out with the old”

and “bye bye bye bye bye bye”


because the unfolding of space

inside our hearts

the bold lion who we thought we sent out is



the thing called love

and it is there, purring and pacing, ready

for a sandwich and a    great    big nuzzly hug.

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