A Mother’s Gift

The encouragement you never gave me is blowing in the wind.
The trees try to snag it, the twigs break.
It falls.
I cup it in my hands and hold.
Placing it snug in my inside pocket. I zip it closed.

The compassion that you seldom showed me lies battered, buried
Below the tree, a raked and brittle pile of twigs and brush.
Soaking, crumbled, a hidden or forgotten feeling.
I dig into a pit of discarded leaves.
Desperately, I find one piece. I dust it clean. It crumbles as I zip it closed.

And as I trudge along the leaves I hear a faint and smothering call.
Oh no! My mother’s pride is buried in the mud, bubbling and gurgling at my touch.
Can I reach it? Am I good enough? Would you root for me?
I snag its tail and hold. It’s trying to escape.
I hold so tight it springs back clear across the field.
It slithers and I run and jump. I grasp it in mid-air. Enclose it securely in my pocket.
Did you see that, Mom? Would you care?

Upon my walk I see the twins, Admiration and Respect
They’ve taken refuge in a willow tree. Their scared of being seen.
But the willow’s arms extend its reach too far for you to notice me.
The rain beats down, and crackle snaps the twins apart. They fall upon the ground.
A jar! I need a jar to lock them tight! To keep them safe for maybe someday…
I trip upon a hopeful jar so long ago misplaced.
I unscrew the top. It’s empty and fulfills my need. I’ll keep it for a rainy day.

Years pass.
A child’s coat lies on an armchair. My coat.
My same badly cared for tattered coat, a childhood blanky
And in its pocket rests a jar of hopelessness, approval that never came to be.
Its presence reminds me.
As my daughter sits, I am to paint her face.
When she runs, I will laugh and paint her face.
When she cries, Mom, I will be there to dry and paint her face.
And when she yells I will whisper back these words to her.

I have a little jar, the treasure isn’t much.
An heirloom of a past that could have ended badly.
An inheritance of a life that I will not give you.
You will never doubt my love. You will never search so far and wide.
My acceptance is too large to jar. But you’ll never have a need to try.
I love you to the moon and back, past stars, and seas, and life itself,
But most of all, and listen well,
There is nothing you could ever do to prevent me from telling you..
mallory-boat

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