Long Story

I wish I could illustrate. I’d draw a droopy mom for this poem. She’d be elastic and springy. She’d be hanging over the edge of her chair, and the child in her lap would fully upright doing something tiring. Or she’d be standing up, arms laden, with one leg held out straight to keep her balance, and the child would be talking, words floating up to her ears, past the obstacles in her hands.

This poem has nothing to do with my own parenting. Well, actually it’s more like where myself as a child and a parent intersect. “Is this going to be a long story?” is something my father always, annoyingly asked. As much as I hated it, as much as he truly didn’t want me to keep talking, I know now he was also kidding. I know that from the times I have found myself in a moment listening to my son when I could maybe use some quiet (just a little bit!), and I want to joke, “Is this going to be a long story?” I never do, I listen. That’s because I’ve been burned. Once or twice, when I didn’t want to listen, it was really good, and I wouldn’t have wanted to miss it.

Long Story

Is this going to be a long story?
Can you summarize?
Don’t you see the tired look in my eyes?
Oh dear, just the main points, please.

Is this going to be a long story?
You know, I’ve heard it all before.
Hold on, someone’s knocking at the door.
I’m quite busy, I only have a minute.

Is this going to be a long story?
Just a little more? Alright, I’m sorry.
But what is it? It’s late and I’m getting snorey.
Oh! I love you too, and I have lots of time to listen to you!