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.
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:
You will tell your baby
I cannot be your bolder
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
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 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
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
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
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.
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.