With all due respect to others that won’t admit so,
Parenting really crushesa soul.
Try as one might,
The only antidote is to temper your own expectations,
So that disbelief at the ordinary can become as sublimated as one’s ego needs to be in order to raise little versions of yourself.
Ego, must go, be gone,
Ergo: let go.
Somewhere along the line,
You realize how impossibly frustrating it must be for your partner to deal with you,
As it becomes evident that three foot versions of yourselves that share genetic material, are enough to send one to the cold slumped embrace of a worn body pillow.
Tears are friends,
Screaming into a howling wind is your best friend.
The best time is when everyone is asleep,
Unless of course, you awake to disembodied eyes an inch from your face saying in a stealthy whisper, “Daddy…Daddy…Daddy”.
Give away all your “good” furniture, and don’t warm to the idea of any type of boundary.
They find you when you poop.
They find you…when you poop!
The first few years are dedicated to just keeping em alive.
The next few are populated with a litany of negotiations, and then someday, you have strangers that look like you, hating you because you became your parents and asked them to be accountable for their behavior.
There is no experience quite like the raising of children.
Nothing so hard and fraught with uncertainty, but also nothing so deeply imbued with a sense of the possibility of imminent loss just when you hold onto it the hardest.
The sounds of neighborhood proximity danced through the screens and curtain sheers on sunny shadowed mornings.
The aliveness of the day pulled us out of our sweaty summer beds, and coaxed us out, out.
At times, our apartment felt like the sun, and we would need to escape outside to a Bunker Hill breeze.
There was one box fan for the whole apartment.
It toiled, satisfactory, but disappointing.
A dip in the Clougherty Pool, could take the sting off.
Then we’d play endless evening rituals, while our mothers squatted on park benches and smoked butts.
The Slush Guy would come ringing his bell.
Small 50¢, medium 75¢, large $1.00.
Lemon, Watermelon, Banana, or a Rainbow.
We’d haunt our mothers until they fidged quarters and moist dollar bills that smelled of tobacco from their change purses and cigarette cases.
My mother always kept her potential cigarettes in the refrigerator. She’d say, “it keeps them freshah.”
Summer nights lasted through orange-blue skies, that got further into shadow, just as the games of hide and seek would start to get good.
Then we’d hear the call.
Time to go back to the heat rising second floor walk-up.
Sweat the night, and be up all the earlier the next day, to get out into life.
A very special thank you, to the neighborhood of North Mead St. a great place to grow up, and share with so many great people. I truly miss them all, and dance with their ghosts as they wind their way through my head.
40/40: Summer Poem Slam-a-bam is a project in which people have joined me for 40 days and 40 nights of on-demand poetry. They have submitted the concepts, ideas, and subjects; I’ve done the rest.