Thursday, September 26, 2013

If I could change one thing

If I could change one thing
in the raising of our children
it would be me, change me
cooking supper in the pearl light
of the kitchen, away
from them the first time
all day, wrestling with daddy
in the other room, and again
after supper, escaping
to wash the fragile dishes, alone,
ferociously alone, without them
with me, learning slowly together
about this practical, breakable life.


  1. Replies
    1. Gwen, there are so many things. to feel, as a mother.

      I recognize now, after coming back, rereading the poem, it can be read different ways. I see that it was loneliness, as well as solitude.


    2. yes Ruth, Mothers' have so much running around in their heads and it stays there forever... it is a wonder our brains don't explode.
      I often think about all the things I could have done better, but we do the best we can with the experience we have up to that point.

  2. Our grandson (20 months) is coming this weekend. I am daydreaming about the things we will do together. Don will roll out homemade noodles for chicken and noodles on mashed potatoes. I want to give James a small table, a small rolling pin, flour, bowls ... I want to take the time with him, I long to give him the space and time to learn practical things. I did not know how to do this for my children, I was desperately in need of solitude when Don came home from work. But what a loss. I did not have this time with them that I long to give James now. Grandmotherhood is a great gift to me.

  3. and now you have the time... Life does allow space for rewards. It is a time to treasure... to take it all in. to feel a balance.
    Joy to you.

    1. Life is meant to be this way, Gwen. The first run, with its mistakes and failings. I think it is important to show our children how to fail. Then to get another chance, and to realize with spectacular joy, what is here for us to learn together.

  4. This is why we always say "If I had known being a grandparent would be this fun, I wouild have done it first!" But it really can't/doesn't happen that way, Sister, for whatever reasons. Maybe that's why we live long enough to be grandparents, to find out the difference?

    1. That's it exactly, Boots. Maybe life is just a series of layers being sheered off, one by one, through the years. <3

  5. how we see these things now that we are grandparents. enjoy your time with him this weekend.

    1. Thanks, Liz. In many ways, being a 50-something beats being a 20-something any day of the week.

  6. Love your plan of what to do with James. There's so much other stuff going on when we're young mothers trying to juggle it all.

    1. Yes, Mary, that is true. Also, a lower level of awareness in my case.

  7. ! i missed this entirely! how did i do that?

    i love your going here to this painful place of distance. no mother feels close enough, i think. not ever. certainly i don't. the place of presence is always too far. even the wrestler's arms there on the floor in the midst of the laughter are an arm's length away.

    this brings to mind this poem i just came across at marion's:

    The Necessity for Irony
    By Eavan Boland

    On Sundays,
    when the rain held off,
    after lunch or later,
    I would go with my twelve year old
    daughter into town,
    and put down the time
    at junk sales, antique fairs.

    There I would
    lean over tables,
    absorbed by
    lace, wooden frames,
    glass. My daughter stood
    at the other end of the room,
    her flame-colored hair
    obvious whenever—
    which was not often—

    I turned around.
    I turned around.
    She was gone.
    Grown. No longer ready
    to come with me, whenever
    a dry Sunday
    held out its promises
    of small histories. Endings.

    When I was young
    I studied styles: their use
    and origin. Which age
    was known for which
    ornament: and was always drawn
    to a lyric speech, a civil tone.
    But never thought
    I would have the need,
    as I do now, for a darker one:

    Spirit of irony,
    my caustic author
    of the past, of memory,—

    and of its pain, which returns
    hurts, stings—reproach me now,
    remind me
    that I was in those rooms,
    with my child,
    with my back turned to her,
    searching—oh irony!—
    for beautiful things.


  8. I relate this to my young motherhood days. Now with my 8 grandkids - i'm learning to embrace all dimensions of the relationships with them. I've always felt my grandkids have raised me to be the gramma I am.


All responses are welcome.