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A Poem for a Thursday #57

Faith Shearin is an American writer who has published five volumes of poetry. She won the May Swenson Award. I didn't find much information about her but I like this poem.

They are taking so many things with them:
their sewing machines and fine china,

their ability to fold a newspaper
with one hand and swat a fly.

They are taking their rotary telephones,
and fat televisions, and knitting needles,

their cast iron frying pans, and Tupperware.
They are packing away the picnics

and perambulators, the wagons
and church socials. They are wrapped in

lipstick and big band music, dressed
in recipes. Buried with them:  bathtubs

with feet, front porches, dogs without leashes.
These are the people who raised me

and now I am left behind in 
a world without paper letters,

a place where the phone
has grown as eager as a weed.

I am going to miss their attics,
their ordinary coffee, their chicken

fried in lard. I would give anything 
to be ten again, up late with them

in that cottage by the river, buying
Marvin Gardens and passing go,

collecting two hundred dollars. 

My Grandparent's Generation
Faith Shearin

Brona has shared a poem this week.

On Being a Bad Mom

When my daughter left for the bus this morning at 6:20 it was 19 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 Celsius). She was wearing a sweatshirt. And her hair was wet. I am pretty sure that makes me a bad mother.

 Have any of you ever tried to convince a 14-year-old girl to wear something she does not want to wear? It is an exercise in futility and not the way I felt like starting my morning. I shrugged my shoulders and let her go. She was going to be cold but maybe, just maybe, if she was cold enough she would wear a coat the next time. (Probably not, but I live in hope.) The bus came about two minutes later and we both went on with our days but it got me thinking.

Sometimes being a bad mother is the best way to be a good mother. Whether or not to wear a coat on a cold morning is not the biggest issue in the world but learning to make decisions and deal with the consequences is. We spend our children's early lives making decisions for them. We decide what they should eat, what time they should go to bed, and yes, what they should wear. We decide because trusting a two-year-old with those decisions is just plain foolish. However, sometimes, as parents, it can be hard to stop making the decisions. After all, we do usually know better. We see the mistakes coming and we just want to protect our kids. But there comes a time when we have to stop micromanaging our children's lives and allow them to manage them.

It is hard. Not because I want to continue making all those decisions but because habits are hard to break. I have been a decision-making mom for 19 years. I can frequently do it better, reach conclusions faster, and analyze the situation more accurately than my kids can. That is what life experience gives you. But what I am trying to give my kids is their own life experience.

I want them to be strong. I want them to make their own decisions. I want them to take responsibility for those decisions. I want them to do the scary things. I want them to push themselves.

I want them to wear coats when it is cold.

I am a bad mom because it is the best way I know to be a good mom.

A Poem for a Thursday #56

Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash
There is one simple criterion for me to choose a poem. Does it make enough of an impression for me to go back and read it again? And maybe again. This poem did that. I read it three times in a row.

It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.
But happiness floats.
It doesn't need you to hold it down.
It doesn't need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,
and disappears when it wants to.
You are happy either way.
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
and now live over a quarry of noise and dust
cannot make you unhappy.
Everything has a life of its own,
it too could wake up filled with possibilities
of coffee cake and ripe peaches,
and love even the floor which needs to be swept,
the soiled linens and the scratched records...
Since there is no place large enough 
to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you
into everything you touch. You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit 
for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it,
and in that way, be known.

So Much Happiness
Naomi Shihab Nye

Brona has shared an absolutely lovely poem this week.