wet oatmeal kisses

Apr 26, 2009

When I was a new mother, I read this poem and instantly fell in love. I cried that first time I read it and have had my heart strings pulled every time since. I wanted to be a mother without regrets. Now, I knew I would have some, but I wanted to nurture in such a way as to enjoy my “in the trenches” mothering years. I wanted to be able to feel I LIVED as a mother, not endured, not survived, but THRIVED. 

Now, I have been mothering for over 12 years and have made plenty of mistakes I never thought I would make. I have wished for a nice meal, clean rooms, less laundry, and quiet on the phone. I have longed to be left alone to cuddle up with a good book. I have yelled, I have cried, and I have grown. Rereading this poem tonight inspires me to recommit to my earlier aspirations of motherhood – to build a living, breathing, growing, laughing home for my family.

Here is the poem…enjoy!

The baby is teething. The children are fighting. Your husband just called and said, “Eat dinner without me.” One of these days  you’ll explode and shout to the kids, “Why don’t you grow up and act your age?” And they will.  

Or, “You guys get outside and find yourselves something to  do. And don’t slam the door!” And they don’t. You’ll straighten their bedrooms all neat and tidy, toys displayed on the shelf, hangers in the closet, animals caged.  You’ll yell, “Now I want it to stay this way!”  And it will.  

You will prepare a perfect dinner with a salad that hasn’t had all the olives picked out and a cake with no finger traces in the icing and you’ll say, “Now THIS is a meal for company.” And you will eat it alone.  

You’ll say, “I want complete privacy on the phone. No dancing around, no pantomines, no demolition crews. Silence! Do you hear?” and you’ll have it. No more plastic tablecloths stained with spaghetti, no more anxious nights under a vaporizer tent, no more dandelion bouquets, no more iron-on patches, wet, knotted shoestrings, tight boots, missing mittens, or ponytails falling out.

Imagine, a lipstick with a point, no babysitter, washing clothes only once a week, no parent meetings, carpools, Christmas presents out of toothpicks and paste.

No more wet oatmeal kisses.

No more toothfairy, giggles in the dark, or knees to heal.

Only a voice crying, “Why don’t you grow up?” and the silence echoing,

“I did”

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  1. tracy

    At 12:30, I finally went to bed…goodness…that is just plain crazy!

  2. Well congrats! I used to do midnight posts – still do on occasion, but it gets better. :) I love this poem – it’s so very true. I’ve been in the “summer” season for three years, and only months ago would I acknowledge it. Time stands still for no man, so make the most of today. :)

    Beautiful post! Looking forward to hearing more from you!

  3. Great post! Just wanted to let you know you have a new subscriber- me!

  4. tracy

    Welcome Kris! How did you find me? Does the subscriber thing work well?

  5. what a nice post.. you made me cried while am reading this. and made me realize that we should enjoy what we have.. thanks for the nice post.

  6. Good stuff.

    Here’s the last stanza of a poem that kept me going while my house went to thunder before my three boy-babies grew up.

    The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
    For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
    So quiet down cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
    I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

    Ruth Hulburt Hamilton, 1958

    (I only just found this rhyme has tons of other stanzas–but none as good as the last.) Robert Frost said something about poetry without rhyme being like playing tennis without a net. While lots of rhyme ends up being doggerel, when it’s right, there’s few better uses of language.