scrubbing chars off cookie sheets,
tears dropping like bombs
into Palmolive bubbles.
Could I leave my babies,
three and twenty months,
for five whole days?
One hundred twenty breathless hours?
I am their Mommy.
But there, in purple rubber gloves
the Lord met me, saying
“Tucking them in each night — Good.
Loving their Daddy well — BEST.”
So I packed a bag,
took his hand
and flew where
apron strings can’t reach.
But not before I tucked
into my mother-in-law’s hand
their schedule, favorite foods,
medical guardian forms.
These gems, however,
I purposely did not leave her:
That His peanut butter sandwiches
get folded, not cut. That his first bite
will be in the middle of the crease
and he will leave behind a crust “smile.”
That She will hand up her army of stuffed animals,
one by one, for kisses and cradling
before she allows you to
pull her from her crib.
That certain songs will cause Him
to run to retrieve his “dancing shoes,”
which he will struggle to pull on in time
to dance across the living room carpet.
That She will yank out
any hair clips or elastics
not placed in specific Bermuda Triangle
quadrants of her head.
That His left leg will be
touching the floor mid-nap
and should be pushed back up
or he will fall out of bed, waking early.
That She will raise her palms
to the sky and join in singing
“Bless the Lord, Oh My Soul”
at the side of her crib each bedtime.
Instead, I tucked these things
deep in my heart
as buried treasure,
my precious, priceless Mama Gold.
I know my mother-in-law
She is a mother,
And this week, as she sifts and pans their lives
I know she will discover gems of her own,
hold some up to the light
to sparkle free.
But most, I suspect, she’ll tuck
deep in her heart
as buried treasure,
her precious, priceless Grandma Gold.
*This is my first time joining the Imperfect Prose writing group hosted by Emily Wierenga. Please click the button below to read others’ beautiful writing inspired by this week’s prompt, “Mother.”