This is not a mother’s day poem

Although two mothers appear in this poem, it is not a mother’s day poem. And though a son is featured, it is not a poem about sons, per se. It is more of a poem about exuberance–that unbridled, lusty energy that characterizes a child, around age 5. I wrote it a long time ago about my son’s habit of leaping into my lap, all knees and elbows and pressing his face to mine, even while I (still remember) am peering around his shoulder at something else going on. He liked to make me laugh, and remaining aloof or sad or hurt or bored never got him the satisfaction that eliminating the distance between us would bring.

So on this day after Mother’s Day, I wanted to remember that capacity for joy that our children bring to us. Too often we get busy or are so tired that we can’t appreciate them. And then, who among us, hasn’t been so beaten down by work or relations that we snap or lash out at the one more thing invading our space?

Mother’s Day is full of notes of appreciation, on Facebook (these I like) and broadcast across the aisles at Kroger’s–these I can’t stand. Some male or female voice asserting, “I wouldn’t be where I am without her,” anonymous, easily said, with no ownership of what they did while she was busy making them into someone.

I’d rather see us live the appreciation on a daily basis. I’d rather see our society spend less on cards and flowers that were imported on the backs of poor mothers in Columbia, where the flower industry certainly doesn’t give a damn. I’d rather see us get reduce the soft focus, increase the numbers of brown babies in brown mothers’ arms we see on the walls in doctors’ offices (and give them some soft focus). I’d rather see my society truly understand how difficult it is to be poor or abused or ignorant and a mother. Free contraception! Free childcare! Save the easy judgment for a less-easy target.

But, as I said, this is not a poem about motherhood. It is about exuberance, don’t you think? How we need to make room for it, even when we’re tired?

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