Sunday, October 23, 2011

Give 'em Back (A poem for my daughters)

When I became a mother I worried that I would pass on 'the worst' of me to my daughters. I wanted to come into motherhood clean. Fresh slate. Newborn like them.

But life doesn't work that way. And being a mother definitely doesn't come with a rule book and a money-back guarantee that says, 'do these 10 things and you'll never worry or fear or cry for your children. And if it doesn't work in 25 years, we'll give you your money back -- or maybe your children.'

Being a mother is about worry and fear and tears. Oh sure, there's the joy and the love and the sense of wonder at these miraculous beings who fill the world with such light, and promise.

But there's always the worry and the fear. And the tears. Oh yes. The tears. They fall like a rain in autumn. Unwanted. Unbidden. Driving away the leaves. Pushing into the crevasses. thin streaks of light that shine through the doorjamb where the fit is no longer tight.

Being a mother means knowing the things about me I never wanted anyone else to see, or have, or know, could become part of theses beings I love without my ever intending for them to be shared. Sometimes, I don't even see what in me has become something in them I never wanted them to know or have or be until it's too late. Until they say or do something and I wonder, but I don't really have to wonder, where did they ever get that idea or notion. Because I know. They got it from me. And it is not the best of me they took.

It was these thoughts that prompted the following:

Give 'em back!

I want them back
those things you took
that I never meant to give
they were not meant for you
never really worked for me
to begin with
I wanted more
for you
I wanted beauty
truth, love, happiness
not those things you took
that are holding you
back from being you
they were me
still are
some of them
but they were never meant for you
give them back
and you'll be free
to be
you without the bits of me
that don't fit well
into what I wanted
for you.

Give 'em Back Audio Recording on Sunday morning by Louiseg88


Joyce Wycoff said...

Very powerful. But a question: if they give back those bits, do they also have to return the courage, creativity, and fiercely loving nature they also got from you?

Anonymous said...

oh yeah...those things that we got along with the goodness. those things...

Anonymous said...

ooooh, those troublesome things...
i am sure glad that there is more good then there are those ugly, tiresome, hanging on things. like snot and ear wax they persist.

Laura said...

I want them back too. So good, Louise. Love hearing your voice.

sharmishtha said...

what a sweet, beautiful poem. i know every daughter is born with a little bit of her mother in her. that comes out consciously or unconsciously.

lots of love.

S. Etole said...

You've spoken "the mother's heart" so well.

Maureen said...

Your poem raises those difficult questions about what we pass on, without necessarily knowing we have, but also what we've "taken" from our own parents, and they before their own and so on. Always a cycle until a break-out.

Enjoyed your reading, which gives your poem extra meaning.

Hope you had a great painting session yesterday.

Alyssa Wright said...

If everyone waited until they were perfect before they had children, there would be no children!

Part of the fun of life is learning to live with imperfection. The best you can do is teach them how to enjoy it too. :-)

Diane Walker said...

Ah, Louise. I am so there with you. I wanted so much to raise strong confident young women...

They are certainly moreso than I was at that age. But still -- I see so many of the traits that held me back holding them back, too.

I console myself with the thought that struggling to overcome those same traits make me who I am today. With luck the struggle will help them, too...

Fi said...

No mother could read your post and not identify with what you say here.

But I so agree with Joyce's comments and Diane's. Oh heck I agree with most of the comments here.

From what you write about your daughters and the obvious pride you have in them I think you're probably being just a might bit hard on your self.

Good and bad traits make us human and from our experiences we live and learn.

Jennifer Richardson said...

OH yes oh yes I understand
and share the longing
to shave away things
that they didn't deserve
....I didn't want that for them.
And then I wonder if I can be
as kind
and generous
with myself
and believe those things
were never meant for me, either.
Or for my parents.
Or theirs.
If I follow it back, I wonder how much more forgiveness
and peace
I'd know.'ve got me on an explore.
Thanks for the beautiful ponder:)