To My Grown-Up Son or Daughter
by Alice E. Chase
My hands were busy through the day,
I didn’t have much time to play
The little games you asked me to,
I didn’t have much time for you.
I’d wash your clothes; I’d sew and cook,
But when you’d bring your picture book
And ask me, please, to share your fun,
I’d say, “A little later, hon.”
I’d tuck you in all safe at night,
And hear your prayers, turn out the light,
Then tiptoe softly to the door,
I wish I’d stayed a minute more.
For life is short, and years rush past,
A little boy grows up so fast,
No longer is he at your side,
His precious secrets to confide.
The picture books are put away,
There are no children’s games to play,
No goodnight kiss, no prayers to hear,
That all belongs to yesteryear.
My hands once busy, now lie still,
The days are long and hard to fill,
I wish I could go back and do,
The little things you asked me to.
To My Grown-Up Mom
Your hands were busy through the day
You didn’t have much time to play.
The little things I’d ask of you,
You took the time to see, to do…
You washed my clothes, you’d sew and cook.
(The best damn Halloween costumes that town had ever seen, I might add!) And when I’d bring my picture book,
your dark, thick outlines and perfect strokes had me mesmerized. You tucked me in, all safe at night.
Ran your fingers across my temple ’til my eyes shut tight. I do the same for Mika, now.
An inherited maternal signature passed on somehow.
I wonder, sometimes, if life is really as short as we think it is. I watch the years rush past and don’t have all the answers, yet. But time brings wisdom, wrinkles,
and opportunities to learn.
I grew out of goodnight kisses and picture books.
I can’t hear you creaking across the floor
when I sleep, anymore.
No fingers on my temple when I’m tired.
My hands are pretty busy, now.
Yours are, too.
We can’t go back and do
the things we used to do.
But in this moment
I can stop and thank you
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