Verses to reach the good enough mother

I spent the last two and a half days
mostly sleeping through sinusitis
as spring,
in the form of cold rain, kept creeping
northward.

The gentle deer was nowhere
to be seen.
Tonight I became the ogre,
not the fantasy earth mother
wrapping her children in dewey sleep.

Now I sit,
pitch darkness of cloudy moon,
thinking of the poems she wrote
before her bigness and my tiredness
clashed in the quiet night,

before she collapsed, after
fighting me, refusing bedtime,
and I came here to listen
for my own softness,

subject instead to flashing screens in my head
projecting future battles,
when all she probably wanted
was for me to lie down
around her.

Her resistance
and my resistance, two boxers in a clinch.
I want to say
there’s no right way to do this.
I am a good enough mama.

But sometimes still don’t believe it,
hold myself on the fatal hook
of the perfect mother
bound to fail.

So I threaten to take her whole allowance
and she tells me I’m so mean.
I don’t care!
she yells, storms, slams, rigid,
then reappears in the hallway,
red feet pajamas and a blue cowgirl hat,
saying she needs fresh air
or she’ll Never Go Outside Again.

No, I tell her. No, no, no, no, no.
Now who’s the child?

Mother’s Day has this way of reducing me
to tears,
and teaching me
to let a hard night go, the way the rain goes,
the way sickness goes
away.

Tomorrow: pancakes, soccer, birthday parties.
Off the hook.
Both of us.
Good enough.
Begin again.

Posted in: Uncategorized

5 thoughts on “Verses to reach the good enough mother

  1. Karen Maezen Miller says:

    Georgia has a couple of diaries, a couple that she’s written in two or three times, two or three years apart. I stole a peek last week, since they were out again. She only writes when she needs to. When she is cornered, kaput. “My mom screamed at me. She hates me. I hate my life. I have no friends.” She writes once or twice when she is 8, then 10, then again. I suppose I did that too. I suppose that’s about all I write: a muffled scream, a sob, and then, blessedly, a breath, and then the calm. What does it sound like in outer space? she asked tonight on the drive home under the moon. I wonder if you can hear the sun on fire? she asked. I bet we can, I bet we hear that all the time.

    Like

  2. Renee says:

    We are good enough mothers for sure, the lessons we teach in the anger and the love all turn our children into wiser people, their souls often already wiser than our own.

    Like

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