(for all the “Tullies” out there)
For Mama Mia,
motherhood was a never-ending spin cycle
of scraping dried spaghetti off the floor,
wiping spit-up from faces,
washing throw-up out of sheets,
& sometimes poop or pee,
or even poopy pee.
It was poop in the bathtub,
only to find traces of it the next day.
It was baking casseroles for dinner
& cupcakes for school functions.
It was cold cereal & spilt milk,
crying for no reason
& laughing for the same;
it was yelling for a multitude of reasons.
It was vacuuming the rugs
for the creeping crawlies in onesies
& the toddling twos in their missing left socks.
It was reading the same stories over & over—
like binge-watching Groundhog Day,
limiting her own screen time to set an example,
& sharing her chips
to show that sharing was good.
It was hiding in the bathroom to check her e-mail or
in the closet to nosh on a frozen white chocolate KitKat
& not feeling guilty for saying no when she needed a dose of
I Love Lucy to unwind.
It was letting them see her read books,
so they would know she did it for herself
& not just for them.
It was giving them what they needed
but not always what they wanted.
It was making time to play with them
& knowing when to leave them to their own (non-electronic) devices.
It was saying thousands of “I love yous” before
getting even one back.
It was sticky hands & dirty feet & boogies God knew where.
It was the last dish left of a set.
It was showing them the world
but not showing the world, them.
It was teaching them about God & Heaven
in a way they could understand.
It was trying to keep their memories alive
of those who had loved them
in the short time these little ones
had known them.
It was putting locks on doors, cabinets, cupboards.
It was trying to remember so much &
having to be so aware.
It was a life sentence of worry.
It was not believing in spanking
promising never to spank again.
It was comforting after disciplining.
It was, when Daddy pissed her the hell off,
letting her temper freeze over when it wanted to boil over.
It was forgiving Daddy for pissing her the hell off.
It was remembering the days when she used to look at harried mothers,
feeling sorry for them,
& knowing now that she had become what she had once vowed
she would never become.
It was a constant unscrambling of the brain
after being constantly interrupted.
It was a distracted drive through life &
staying up far too late to get some alone time.
It was yearning for her pre-baby body in her post-baby life,
wondering why the silhouette in the mirror disappointed her,
for she’d been running,
since the day they were born.
It was everything she had ever wanted &
more work than she had ever thought it would be.
It was teaching them all the things they really needed to know
before they ever got to kindergarten;
it was learning to know when to ask for help
so that she could care for herself as well
as she cared for all of them.