Sunday, April 24, 2011

First, I Cleaned…

*Mike took the kids to my in-laws for Easter yesterday, and they will return later tonight. It’s the first time in seven years I have been alone in my own house for more than a few hours.
**Disclaimer: I am not a poet.

***Disclaimer: due to wanting to publish this immediately, pardon any typos. This is a time- sensative post.
Poem # 1
 What Happens When My Husband And Children Are Not At Home For 24 Hours

At first, elation…
I can sit in every chair and couch in my house
for as long as I want
without someone asking me
to get their sippy cup or favorite bear…
without someone screaming “she hit me”
or the other someone asking me
"hold you?"
    I don't.

At second, fear:
Are they okay? Should I call?
    I don't.

At third, guilt:
I’m a horrible mother…I should just drive down there now.
    I don't.
At fourth, peace.
You need this. You really, really, need this.
    I do.
cleaned the house,
took a bath,
went to Wal-Mart,
ate Chinese food in front of the TV,
and watched a show
featuring a bunch of wretched
none of which clean, cook, or take care of their own children.
In fact,
they behaved more like teenage Mean Girls than housewives...
Perhaps the definition has changed. 
I watched a stupid teen movie
that could have been clever,
took a left turn into a musical number,
with a dancing mascot.

Then I tossed and turned,
as all three cats slept with me.
One settled in on the top of my head,
the other against my back,
and the third at my feet.
I had to shut the heat off,
The bed was too warm.

I woke at 10 am.
It’s been fifteen years
since that’s happened.

And then:

I cleaned…
I drank coffee uninterrupted…
I pet all three cats SEVERAL times…forgot how soft they are.
I did laundry…
I went for a bike ride…

I went to Starbucks
To just do nothing
I wrote
This poem.

Poem # 2 What I Think About When I have The Space & Time To Think Uninterrupted

Be who you are circulates in my brain. It's the mantra I teach my teenage students who struggle with fitting into the norm of high school, but it's really a mantra that I need when I struggle with the guilt of not being the perfect wife, mother, teacher, mentor, daughter, sister.

So here’s who I am: I burn the candle at both ends while deep breathing. I am not really a half way kind of gal. I don’t have a normal schedule. I pack more into a day than the daily recommendation. I don’t eat dinner at normal times nor do I get enough sleep. Sometimes I’m bitchy. Many times when my daughters say to me, "Mommy, sit down!"– I don't. Many times I ignore the signs of possible collapse.  I also exercise every day, drop everything when my children enter the room to marvel in their amazingness, and breathe deeply and frequently even if that means closing my eyes here at Starbucks to pause and drink in the wonder of my life.

Before bed the mommy guilt pulsed throughout my body…But I didn’t fight it…I let the thoughts swim through my brain until they reached a waterfall and fell off a steep cliff in my mind.

First time I can recall that I was able to allow this guilt to ride its course like a virus and then submit to sleep, which didn’t fall over me until 2:30am.


“I didn’t have to think about who was hungry who needs something…it was great!” A direct quote from a new mother who has a seven week old…her third…about her recent return to work.


Lisa Champagne said...

Say what you want-- I still treasure this kind of weekend and my baby is 15. Years, not months.

Joanne Carnevale said...

Like how you brought the phrase "I don't" into the second poem, too. Does you good to change it up every so often . . . but, not too often. Enjoy it when you can. And, look at you, writing poetry . . . love that.