Mom Poet Strength

Life with Poet
(c) 2003 published 2004

Sometimes easy to forget
They see the world
More, less, better, worse
Other. See
Overburdened words with
No meaning
Everywhere

Sometimes easy to forget
They use two words
and paint a thousand
As easy
You say two and they see
A hundred
thousand

It’s Mother’s Day and like millions of others I’m happy to celebrate my mom.  She is incredible and I’m grateful for her.  Our relationship over the years has changed drastically, a number of times.

When I was a small child, she – a single mother – was the center of my world. She was playmate, provider, nurturer, and mentor. She was determined to teach me to value culture, diversity, humanity. I talk a lot about my dad – my dads really – and what they gave me emotionally and intellectually. But she too was generous and purposeful in these things. Some of my earliest memories are her pacing the living room reading Shakespeare out loud; watching the Russian ballet on PBS and falling in love with Baryshnikov together. She took me to festivals and fairs, enrolled me in a Chinese summer school program (I was one of only two non-Chinese kids there), took me to work with her at the Jewish Community Center in Sac, and dragged me into art-house and dramatic movies that I, protest as I might have, left in awe and inspiration. She refused to allow me intellectual laziness, arrogance (something I am and was prone to), or meanness. She demonstrated the power of integrity and community daily.

There was a time, for a number of years – teens through early twenties -when my Dad frequently had to act as translator between the two of us. After he passed away, we had to figure out how to relate to each other without him. She became a close friend, collaborator, and advisor. I learned about and came to appreciate her way of looking at the world, her considerable intellect, her generosity. I admired her talent; somewhat awed by her prolific poetry and precise observations that were so different from my own. I was and am frequently overwhelmed by her pride in me.

Now she lives with me and has slowly had to give up independence she loved. Has to rely on me for many things. I have learned more about her strengths and weaknesses. I love and appreciate her more for them. I watch her still trying to protect me, guide me, look after me. I won’t lie, the adjustment after living most of my adult life alone was big and not easy. In some ways we’re still adjusting. But I’m so grateful to have her here with me. Because as fierce and independent as I am, I still need my mom sometimes and I’m happy I’m able to be here for her when she needs me.

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