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!

Ask Me, I know

Every year we do something strange.
We cut down a tree, and our living room we rearrange.

It will not grow, it leaves a mess,
so why do we look forward to this?

‘Why DO we do this?’ you wonder out loud.
“For the presents!” says the child unbowed.

‘Why are there presents?’ you wonder some more.
“It’s a birthday party!” shouts he, coming into a roar.

‘Then why don’t we sing Happy Birthday?’ Ha! You’ve got him this time.
“Because it’s Christmas!” he says with the most determined look in his eye.

You’re right, so true.
I just needed a little reminder, called you.

“I’m too ired”

“I’m too ired” said the child,
using the day’s last bit of energy.
“I can barely crawl to my bed tho’ it’s in sight
and prop one eye open for my story.”

“I’m too ired for bathing and bubbles
I’d rather go to bed grubby.
Skip the scrubbing, go right to snuggling
I’m too ired to even say the T.”

It Can Wait

I put off thinking about the time when I will have me a good cry
No time for tears, got some dishes, laundry and painting
Work, clean-up, mothering and sainting

I’d love to talk but can it wait until I get my finances straight?
Every day a daily grind, I put off pampering, I’ll be fine.
You want it when? You’re not pleased. These constant demands bring me to my knees.

No time to pause, I’ll put it off, someday I’ll rest when I pass these tests
I truly would love to read and snooze, I’ll put it off and skip the booze
I’ll have fun when it’s done, when all of my chores are through

If today were my day, Heaven would have wait. I don’t even have time to procrastinate.

Daily Prompt: Procrastination

Questions

“When it’s winter do ladybugs go inside?
Do you know where they might hide?
Have you seen a two-dollar bill, is it real?”
Children are wise and curious.
They ask questions like “How can the moon follow and chase us?”

I am asked, “Why is there no floor thirteen?
“What is white chocolate?” and “What is unseen?”
Better be ready to know everything, or find it or invent it quite readily.
“Is zero an even or odd number?” will make you humble.
You will think, you will stumble.

“Does a frog have ears?”
Some I know, others I fear.
“Which comes first, static or electricity?”
At times the answers really do stump me,
but I figure out how phone lines reach other countries.

“Before I was born did I pick you (or you pick me)?”
“Do pets go to Heaven to keep grandparents company?”
You will question what you know.
Do you remember what you were told?
Did you ever ask “Will you be here when I am old?”

I have to look it up and learn too
when I’m asked ‘Is a cucumber a fruit?’
So many questions like ‘Where is the rainforest?’ and ‘Why do we cry?”
I wonder at kids wondering all the things they do
and mostly I wonder that grown-ups forget to wonder too.

Torture and Terrorism

Every three hours
the same reason to dread
My body tenses
I know the demands will come again

How long can this fight go on
so many others before me
did they fight the battle,
lose the war?

Every morning I rise
hopeful for a peaceful solution
determined to make a difference
I vow not to be defeated

I beg and reason
it cannot continue
I yell for an end to the madness
He does not remember
so many times before

mealtime
with a seven year old