While you were at school today, I watched the morning news. One of those dark-seed thoughts sprouted and I became so upset that I blinked back tears.
You see, Monday is Remembrance Day.
And it got me thinking, about war, about the horrors that man can inflict upon man. Bayonets. Land mines. Water torture. Experimentation. Starvation.
It was at that moment that I realized that soon, too soon, you will learn about these things, and though I want to be the one to discuss these things with you... it struck me that I have no idea what I will say when you begin to ask me the hard questions.
Already, what you ask astounds me, leaves me hollowed, feeling so inadequate, lost.
You've asked me why some parents aren't more loving to their children, speak to them so "awfully." You've asked me why there are countries without enough water and why some don't have enough to eat. You've asked me why people must die, why people aren't more kind and why people hurt each other.
And I've stumbled along, given you the best answers that I can. I have made sure the answers are honest, but I do my best to shelter you from the harsher facts, making sure that what I say is age appropriate.
But one day you will ask me about the Holocaust and Hitler. You will learn about slavery, infanticide and gang rapes. And school shootings. And Syria.
You will ask me what is evil and then you will ask why does it exist?
How can supposedly good people stand by and let horrible things happen to an entire culture? How can someone see more worth in a $6 latte than buying a coffee and sandwich for the homeless man they see every day, but refuse to acknowledge with so much as a smile?
I have taught you that hate is a bad word and one we can choose to use ... or REFuse to use. You- at only four - have already asked me about hate. Our conversation is one I will never forget, always treasure. And that you internalized all that information, that I can see that you have come to understand the power of choice, fills me with such a feeling of peace and hope.
Monday is Remembrance Day.
Your mom feels as small as one soldier's cross amongst thousands, aching for that enormous heart of yours that will shudder when you learn that the villains in your fairytales pale compared to the real life villains, some dead and some very much alive.
Please, just for tonight, ask me about migration, again, or why God invented the letter E, which you say is the worst letter in the alphabet, and tomorrow I do my best try to explain about war.
I love you, monkey. Stay you.
* Written for my daughter, who really does have a precious pair of Little Yellow Socks.
Little Yellow Socks
by Amy Swanson 12/5/2008
Little yellow socks
running down the hall
"Slow down with those socks on,"
I'd yell... too late, the fall!
Little yellow socks
padding softly late at night
climbing up into my lap
one more hug, out goes the light.
Little yellow socks
follow me with squeals of laughter;
Oh how she loves to run in them,
Begging me to come chase after!
Little yellow socks...
now not being worn a lot.
My little girl is growing up,
No longer just a tot.
Little yellow socks
will be cast aside someday
I must guard these precious moments;
in my heart, they'll safely stay.
Here further down the hillside slope
Down close to the creek with hope
My husband bought a house, land
Fenced in and made many plans
Subdued the land to cow pasture
And planted a garden, fruit trees sure
Fathered another child to call him sir
The creek seemed to like the stir
Enjoyed the children for a little while___
Loved them so that it made her smile
Today she loves grandchildren the same
No girls there are in frills ___tame
The creek keeps on flowing to the sea
The land is mostly stripped of trees
(This is my adaptation of Robert Frost's poem "The Birthplace". I hope that it does not insult
I do not know?
I never did the
''He loves me not....
He loves me'' game
I already knew nobody loved me
so why should I listen
to a stupid flower?
I did make wishes
after the bloom died
and it was tiny spikes of fluff
waiting to blow away
till next year.
I hated wasting my time
but I couldn't resist.
''If there's even a small hope
that this will work....
I've got to try! ''
I would find a spot
where nobody could see me
and I'd whisper
my one wish
the same wish
Thousands of dandelions
by my pleading breath.
I never told a soul
I wished to be happy
with a husband
who loves me
and kids who love me.
I wished so hard...
I never thought
One evening, much like any other
striated feathers of pinks, and deepest primrose
colored the clouds with facets of light tapering inward
Traces of gold between each color
as deep and clear as the sages
A red sun overhead, grown weary with seasons,
did not seem to notice that we were mother and child
Whispering sounds of emerald breezes
did not label me wise, nor her naive'
We were two who walked equally side by side
She lifted her voice,
and spoke with an eloquence I had not heard before,
and it was just as the twilight calls to the stars....
so that they will know just what to do
Young spruces stood bolt upright,
every twig stiff with interest, and with deep respect
at her every word
as if they were watching transformation in tandem,
an exchange so delicately detectable
That in one clinging moment, to the other,
one of us was letting go of childhood,
and one was letting go of the child
Both of us looking to the sky for recognition
I watched the sycamore shed beneath the load of spent yellow and gold
Letting them softly go, without remorse
while I did the same
The rules said “one parent not two”
Good for me as I only had you
No selection; no one to choose
Who is this parent; just follow the clues
Next rule; write something “profound”
Something good or something that makes you frown
This one was easy
Considering all you ever said was greasy
“You stupid _____”
This one was rich
“Go get the belt”
Not satisfied till there was a welt
The pain is still felt
How about “you swine”
Became a preference in time
Not “go to bed”
Followed by a blow to the head
So hard could have become brain dead
Your scars are still here
Your pain I still wear
Your mistakes I still bare
Your voice I still hear
Your secrets I now declare
Your presence I no longer fear
Your wrong doings I am aware
Your hate is replaced with tender loving care
Did you follow the clues
Who's this in reference to
Someone you want to be related to
Perhaps it’s someone you already do
This is my parent… I wish it were untrue!
**For "My Parent" contest sponsored by Francine Roberts.
* Honorable Mention
Tell me of your peace.
Let it tell your story now
Of trials and tribulations, a tale not of dreams
Weary from a journey of self-discovery
My child, know the comfort in your peace
You feel hope in this familiar place
As it gently sloughs the pain away
Tell me of your peace
In which we all are blessed and free
Search throughout your soul sweet child
Peer not within your cluttered mind
Look out to rest your tired eyes but do not let them see
Solace found strewn upon daily thoughts is fleeting at it's best
Lasting merely moments, in untouched souls a true peace
Oh yes! You'll know when you arrive but only you will know
The world will melt away as a candle left under the blazing sun
Away away, until you feel home again, an unguided familiar scene
An innocence once lost is restored, all sins suddenly forgiven
Soaking this in with relucant ease,
Breathe it deep with a slow release
Take it in, delight in details you discover
Be calm here child, please have no fear, I am here
You are safe in this place of yours, no hurt no tears
We share not the same peace, no no
Unique to each of us, yet stranger to none
Trust in more than what you see, know beauty is within reach
We share this unspoken bond of freedom from ourselves
Please young one, listen closer now
I say, leave it all behind you love, it will only weigh you down
Cleanse yourself of careless words and careful lies
I know you're weary, let go of all you carry
Don't be afraid, here you are burden free
Trust in you, blessed one, it's easier than you believe
Sweet child, tell me now if you see
Peace resting deep within
Waiting for you
For you to let it be
Dramatic Verse (Verse Drama)
am so special
won't suck you dry
need to be someone
have such anger
am a stranger
to myself, myself
I promise to me
to let myself be free
I WILL do better
I WILL forget
the things said
be better, no regret
I will be better
I already am
by Amy Swanson
Running to me
with big hugs
and even bigger brown eyes
smile full of mischief
arms thrown around my neck
--- almost choking me!---
"I love you Mommy!"
my little "Long-Legs"
how fast you have grown.
Almost as tall
as your short mama
*but then that wouldn't take much*
remembering a time
when my little Long-Legs
... my long-legged girl...
had little bitty
just learning how to toddle around the house
crawling faster than I could walk
running to keep up with her...!...
purple baby food plums smeared across a happy smiling mouth
full of giggles
with no idea how cruel this world can be;
Oh how time flies.
She's nine next week
toddler toys long gone;
she wants a bike
so she can ride like the wind --
already the taste of freedom in her mouth
already the feel of freedom in her spirit
away from me.
But she knows
I will always
*and, somehow, forever*
watch over my little girl
even when she is no longer little.
She smiles at me
teeth slightly crooked
hair brushed all by herself
and asks "Do you like my style?"
already planning her fashion agenda
like every "big girl" does.
My almost-nine year old girl
born on lucky clover day
March 17th, 2000
the day she changed my life
so grown up, so soon...
and I know more is on the way.
What I don't know
is how this mother's heart will fare
when one day she leaves.
You make my life complete
full of tickles and giggles
I love you so,
my little Long-Legs.
I I I
I Not Afraid
F At All
L Be Free
w m Curviest
i a Thing you’ve
l k Ever Seen
d e Self-Esteem
s Is higher than
E Love flows deeper
N Surges Greater
c Than any river
r Emotions as unchanging as the sea
a Modern Day
z Super Hero
y Working hard
I To defeat
L Sexual Inequalities
D Worthy of stealing
Any man’s fancy
[Dedicated to the Women, the strong, the brave, the merciful]
[The Mothers, the Daughters, the Wives]
[ the women who make up our lives]