I used to sit on the cold wood floor to pray,
aware of a connection to spiritual warriors who sleep on dried mud.
I aimed for an outward experience of humility. Children humble me now.
Every tear shed at my hands when I am not paying attention
to their fragility, their unspoken need for a fairness
neither of us can put into words, a reality akin to fresh air.
Every smile earned by being the lucky woman
who provided their womb, their early nourishment,
the woman who is given morning hugs, even when I’ve dropped the ball,
hurt their feelings the night before. Forgiving is not the same as resilient.
I must be careful. Half (or more) of their willingness to forgive
is a need for comfort they may not have as their age turns teen,
if I have taken their efforts for granted or praised
when they have not exerted themselves. I wish to be neither
foolish nor a poor listener with these souls temporarily in my care.
By day, I am easily mislead. Petty fights, running in the house (again),
a cute, but not funny, made-up joke, large eyes in a small face,
may blind me to the oak tree in the seed. When I watch them sleep,
it all rushes in, an account of our day, week, year, their lifetime
and mine, not as a flash, but a settling haze, a mist on my shoulders,
in my hair, on my eyelashes. I see what I could never describe.
I shed a tear, a prayer, and carry on in the shadow
of finally seeing (once more) until I too lay down
and drift onto a sea of unpredictable dreams.