Soft

July 11, 2010

She gently pats her hand
on the doggy’s fur,
Daddy’s hair,
Papa’s beard.

Soft
she says
in her cute baby voice,

and I remember her
soft, sweet skin
all born new
fresh and small.

This growing makes me smile
and breaks my heart.

©2010 Erin Kilmer

Barbies on Titanic

July 6, 2010

I left Barbies at Communion
(autographed by Mr. Goodyear himself)
on the counter by the bathroom sink.

(I only have time to read in the bathroom.
Sometimes I lock myself in.)

I won it, you know,
the book, not the bathroom sink,
and I was just about halfway through.

(these things take time when your daughter
likes to eat dog food while you’re in the bathroom.)

And then, in a moment of destiny,
two boys reenacting the sinking of Titanic
also drenched Barbies,
who had never even once thought of
buying a ticket on that ill-fated
bottle-turned-ship.

(I guess I should be glad it was sink-water
rather than other bathroom alternatives.)

Dizzy

June 29, 2010

Dizzy
Erin Kilmer

I am here, there,
everywhere
it seems some days

where I want to be
humming with the churn
of the dishwasher
and spinning around
dizzy in the laundry

and they are calling me
with glue bottles stuck shut
and scraped
knees and lost cups
and I am here with them

what I wanted
but dizzy, still, and hurrying

clatter on the table
with the plates and knives
and jug of milk
and when will Daddy be home

did you brush your teeth,
change your socks,
don’t wrestle in the living
room because I am here
wrestling with the pots and pans
underneath

and each day we are here,
and there, library, park,
hiding in the basement, sweeping
the floor and folding blankets

and it is me with
them and them with
me and that is what is meant,
what we are meant for,
never easy but worth it

water the tomatoes, knead
our daily bread and read living
Words and clear the table so
it can be a shipyard again until dinnertime

three meals around this table every day
and we grow, they grow, with
buttered toast and eggs scrambled
whisk falling on the floor, on
the baby

am I coordinated enough for this dance

I will find my footing,
and we will all be together
ringing round rosies and doing
all these good things while my head spins,

dizzy with all I have to do,
dizzy with all they teach me,
dizzy with grace

Ode to the Mess

May 10, 2010

Ode to the Mess
by Erin Kilmer

“Be not afraid of greatness,” Shakespeare said;
I say that in these words true wisdom lies.
For greatness comes to few, ’tis no surprise.
Fear thou rather thy laundry room instead–

For laundry comes to all; and fear the sink
With dishes overflowing, and the floor
Which greets with clutter all who pass the door.
Yes, fear the mess which never seems to shrink.

Fear that these messes will take o’er your life;
That you should focus only on their fall
And never see the joy within them all:
That thou should be a mother and a wife.

Oh, do thy work, but never do forget
That being theirs is thy greatest work yet.

Being Mother

May 9, 2010

by Erin Kilmer

I am a mother.

My floor is littered with toys and socks and books and a pink blow-up dolphin.

My kitchen sink is full of dishes to be washed and my laundry room is overflowing with dirty underwear.

My yard needs mowed and the flowerbed is all weeds.

I am a mother.

I cannot do it all.

I am imperfect and tired and busy.

I am slowly learning grace.

I am a mother.

My sons grow taller every day– startling me with height.

They remind me a little too much of myself, of my husband.

They do not need clean underwear as much as they need me, present.

I am a mother.

My daughter grows and watches me.

I wonder what she will become, watching me.

She does not need an immaculate playroom as much as she needs me, present.

I am a mother.

So often I am caught up in my world, my pleasure, my business.

So often I am not the mother they should have.

So often I do only the bare minimum required to get by.

I am a mother.

I want to be so much more than just the one who gave them birth.

I want to be the one who daily nurtures, brings life.

I want to be the one creating warmth and joy and memories.

I am a mother.

They are my children, loving unconditionally.

I am the unworthy recipient of hugs from grimy hands, expressions of love in glue and construction paper.

Oh Lord, make me the mother they deserve.