It’s been a long time since I posted any of my own work here, and since I’m feeling super lazy today, it’s the perfect time. I’ve written many, many poems about motherhood, but it’s a tough needle to thread. There are so many opposing forces: cynicism and hope, exhaustion and joy, and the ever present precipice of cheesiness. But this is one of my favorites, I hope you enjoy it too.
Mama is in the kitchen
slicing two pounds of grapes in half
on a lazy Sunday afternoon
Mama is weeding the side yard
As the moon rises high
with a sleeping baby on her back
Mama is in the nursery
rocking a sighing sick baby
in the small hours of night
Mama is cradling a cold cup of coffee
scouring the internet for ten minutes of adult thoughts
before nap time draws to a close
Mama is tapping her foot
under a cafe sidewalk table
trying to listen to a saddened friend
and calculate the hours she’s been gone
Mama is playing London bridge with her feet
laughing at toddler squeals
wrist deep in dishwater
apologizing to the bank man
she’s got on speaker phone
Mama is staying up late to fold laundry
sneaking under soft baby snores
to deliver clean clothes to squeaky drawers
Mama is speaking prayers
over a silky, wiggling head
dodging yogurt slimed hands
Asking for peace
and also that this wiggling head will know
that with every move and sleepless night
with multitasking tired fingers
with long slow breaths amid shrill screams
with a heart wrung out and ever full
Mama is blessing her
In my now extensive travels through the artwork on Pinterest, I’ve started an entire board just for pictures, paintings, and sculptures of embrace. I honestly can go to that board, look at the pictures, and feel loved. It’s gorgeous. One of my favorite pieces from that board (although it is hard to choose a favorite) is this delicate painting by Xi Pan.
This is one of those images that make me feel I’m not alone. This image is so utterly true to my life, I can feel my daughter’s baby cheek on my shoulder when I look at it. I love that it illustrates how mothers and children are built to fit together just so, and how peaceful and comforting that one fact can be.
Xi Pan is a very impressive painter, well worth spending a few minutes exploring. She does these really lovely, slightly surreal female nudes; the painting I’ve chosen is actually not very representative of her work. So you should go check out the rest, because it’s awesome.
My husband’s skin is kind of magical. It’s not a sex thing, exactly. It’s not even a familiarity thing, because I’ve felt that about him before we were even officially dating. It feels like home. When I have contact with his skin, there’s a small spiritual confirmation that this is my partner. Long before we made the very grown-up decision to get married, I think the knowledge of our life long love was already in my sensory hairs.
Pearl has that too. She was asleep in my lap, just finished her early-morning feeding, and I got that same feeling. Like beyond the cognitive knowledge that she is my baby, my arms and hands whisper that this child is forever set apart from all others because this child is my daughter. This one has my eyes, she has my blood, she is sustained by my body. This one has my partner’s magic skin.