Monday, October 6, 2014

I AM the Mother


Me and Danielle, January 1970
Dryin' Dishes

I am the Grandmother  (Grammy)!  Is my new edict.  And don’t listen to a word I say.  No really.  Just watch my every move.  That’s what ultimately matters.  The examples we set.  The other day, sitting on the back porch, staring at the trees, my friend Mead and I were discussing what our purpose was now that our children are grown.  That was her answer, “be an example.”  Good idea.  And it’s easy to do.  Just be who I am, do what I do.  Don't explain, don't apologize, don't justify, don't defend.

When my grandsons, Chuck and Avery visit I always make stevia sweetened lemonade from fresh lemons and Larry (Pops) makes bean burritos.  Later, back at home Chuck asked his mom, what if you were stranded and could only have two foods what would they be? His answer was “Grammy’s lemonade and burritos.”  When Avery published his first book, Rhiney the Rhino, he wrote in the dedication, “To my family and friends and. . . Laverne.”  And when Chuck starts to play the guitar he takes a cloth and wraps it around his right arm to protect the guitar from sweat.  Just like Pops, does.  These aren’t things we were preachin’ and hollerin’ about.  These were just what we do, fixing good food, making music, making art, sharing stories and now it’s grandkids who are watchin’ our every move. 

I AM the Mother

I want to go back to the old days
before I though I had somethin’ to say
            when I was just happy dryin’ dishes
            and washin' tomato soup mixed with crackers
            outta my little girl’s hair
            after she dumped it there
            the whole bowl
            turned it upside down
            flakes of soup soaked crackers stuck to her face

            there wasn’t nothin’ to do back then
            but get it a rag and wash it off
            snap a photo if the camera was near
            now its gotta mean something’
            it’s gotta be profound
            somethin’ I ponder and sigh about
            write pages about

            I useta thinks there wasn’t nothin’ else to worry about
            ‘cept when the last car payment was
            and would it last ‘til then
            now I worry how I put words down on paper
            I worry that it will make sense and I don’t even remember
            what I was tryin’ to make sense of

DJ and Johnny
screamin’ and fightin’ and carryin’ on
I holler “I’ve had a enough?
your bed time behavior is goin’ to change!
you got it!
it is goin’ to change, NOW!

I crawl on my hands and knees
pickin’ up specks of lint
while they brush their teeth and look for pajamas
toss dirty underwear in the wastebasket by mistake
‘cause I moved the dirty clothes hamper.

 Just goes to show
all the preachin’ and talkin’
don’t do a damn bit of good
they’re watchin’ your every move
you holler at them
they holler and you
and the bedroom stays a mess

I sweep Cheerios off the kitchen floor
throw dish rags in the sink
and the telephone rings
I sink down in my chair
and quietly
softly say
Is your mother there? They ask
I AM the mother.

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