May is motherhood memoir month

Growing Pains

Mothering is difficult. And then it gets better.

Here’s poetic evidence for Mother’s Day: Yesterday I wrote about Daughter #2, the poet. At the Central Oregon Writer’s Guild this last year she read her award winning poem, and then she read this:

Growing Pains

Thank you for teaching me to fold things

I am still not good at it

when it comes to cloth

but when it comes to feelings

I can sort by color,



And put them to bed in the right drawers


and named

and placed

All because of you

And for dusting the blinds in my room

I know you hated it

(and so did I)

but now I am so good at letting in the light

growing towards its warmth

even when I’m not sure how clean I am myself

I am lighter because of you

And for letting me ruin your horsehair brushes

and drop tempera paint on your oak floors

because I can bridge gaps now

between burnt ochre

and aquamarine.

You gave me names for the world

so I could walk across the colors

making sense of where your stories of wild Arabians

and lost brothers

all colored in sepia photos

crossed with my own wild things,

yellows born from you

and those plains,

blues from the way your hands moved

when you allowed the lines to bleed.

Thank you for the tiny paint tins,

the quilt from Paris,

and your stories…

for taking your own left rib

and etching my name into it

and letting me grow into my words

like galoshes.

Thank you for waiting for me

to catch up

I’m so glad our growing pains

were for each other.

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