My mom has long been my hero. Her tireless work ethic, impish sense of humor and Saks’ Fifth Avenue style on a Woolworth budget never cease to inspire. I wrote this poem for “Toni” years ago, but I share it with moms everywhere. Thank you for all you do…
Please pass it on to anyone you feel would enjoy…
* * * * * * * *
The nose crinkles when I remember the trips to Palisades.
Jumps and leaps and fake swimming in the wave pool
and all the rides.
They never should have closed that park, don’t you think?
In the pool so long till I became a brown face
with a big smile in the middle of it
and ghost white feet on the bottom.
And Bear Mountain.
Rocks and hikes and picnics
and then and then
Saturdays and the bus to Macy’s.
The Magic Store.
They had everything at Macy’s.
And mommy’s pocketbook,
handles draped protectively over her arm.
The snap in the middle
releasing the accordion contraption.
The gloves, the raglan sleeves,
hand folded close to the chest.
The other hand doing its job.
The other hand holds mine, you see.
Half a Hershey bar with almonds
always in the zipper pocket of the magic pocketbook.
God knows what you’d find in there.
Just in case we needed a nosh.
A nosh on the bus.
To a little one dinner seemed lifetimes away.
But where did the other half go?
There was never a whole one
no matter when you looked in there.
It was always half eaten
inviting you to eat the other.
And mommy always has money in the pocketbook.
Mommy must be magic because
she always has money in the pocketbook.
She always takes care of us.
No matter what happens you know you can depend on …
The bike riding.
The pedal pushers.
The funny sunglasses that made me look like a criminal.
I looked like a mafia don at nine.
Taking a picture with me and mommy.
Her smiling. Posing, naturally.
Don’t forget to pose naturally.
Looking up at her, my tongue sticking out.
Those silly headbands she made me wear
for the hair too thick for modern consumption.
The ridiculous white on white white sneakers
flat flat as flat could be.
Posing for mommy.
Posing for posterity.
Even throwing up was okay when mommy was around.
Always got lots of crumply clean tissues
in the magic pocketbook to clean me up.
A little spit on a tissue goes a long, long way.
Nose bleeds. No problem.
Hurt knees. Under control.
And at night at night stroke my hair mommy
play with my hair
hum our favorite song.
Mommy sings so nice but she’d better hum
because I don’t think there’s one entire song
mommy knows the words to.
Sounds like butter,
feels like a warm breeze, singing.
Lullabye time, isn’t it, Mommy?
We know the words to that one, don’t we, you and me.
Hold my hand
play with my hair
sing me to sleep,
my little body swaying seasick
like it’s still in the wave pool.
Long day, didn’t we?
Where she gets the energy I’ll never know,
to work to sing to clean
to always have the Hershey bar with almonds waiting.
Magic. It must be magic.
I could never think of all that.
That’s why I have Mommy.
She thinks of it for me
and plays with my hair
and sings me to sleep.
I start to nod off and I know
in the morning comes the clanging of the pots.
Makes so much noise in that little kitchen.
I pretend not to like it but I’ll tell you a secret.
She could get on a high, high ladder
with all the pots in the world
and drop them right in front of me
and I think that would be okay.
So sing me to sleep Mommy
the lullaby I cling to, you and me.
And in the morning we’ll start again.
You be the mommy and I’ll be your little one.
I’ll reach up and you’ll take my hand.
Safe then. Safe at last.
Yes, I remember.
The nose crinkles when I remember.
It’ll always be that way.
Wind up our propellers
and get the motor running,
you and me.
Facing the world.
You and me.
Anita Finlay is the author of Dirty Words on Clean Skin, a shocking exposé of media bias, now available in print and Kindle editions on Amazon. #1 on Women in Politics books for 16 weeks.
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