Friday, August 28, 2009

Wet Oatmeal Kisses???

By Lonnie Cruse

I recently came across the poem below in a book I was reading . . . and immediately started to cry. Then I dried my tears and typed the poem into a Word document and printed it out for all the young mothers I know, with instructions to keep it handy for a day that will surely come in the future.

If you have small children, this will be you one day. Motherhood is not for sissies. It's tough. It's demanding. The hours are long, the stress level is high, the pay is non-existant except for the perks described below. But it's the best job I ever had. Still have.

Because you never stop worrying about them no matter how old they are, or how married, or how far away them move. (Yes, I do try to be a great mother-in-law.) And then they have kids and your worries double. Triple, maybe? But it's still the best job I ever had. So grab some tissues, read the poem, and see if it resonates with you like it did with me. And Don't forget to kiss your kids today. Wet oatmeal or no.


The baby is teething. The children are fighting.
Your husband just called and said, “Eat dinner without me.”
One of these days you’ll explode and shout to the kids,
“Why don’t you grow up and act your age?”

And they will.

Or, “You guys get outside and find yourselves something to do.
And don’t slam the door!”

And they don’t.

You’ll straighten their bedrooms all neat and tidy, toys displayed on the shelf hangers in the closet, animals caged. You’ll yell, “Now I want it to stay this way!”

And it will.

You will prepare a perfect dinner with a salad that hasn’t had
all the olives picked out and a cake with no finger traces in the icing
and you’ll say, “Now THIS is a meal for company.”

And you will eat it alone.

You’ll yell, “I want complete privacy on the phone. No screaming. Do you hear me?”

And no one will answer.

No more plastic tablecloths stained with spaghetti. No more dandelion bouquets. No more iron-on patches. No more wet, knotted shoelaces, muddy boots, or rubber bands for ponytails. Imagine. A lipstick with a point.
No babysitter for New Year’s Eve, washing clothes only once a week,
no PTA meetings or silly school plays where your child is a tree.
No carpools, blaring stereos or forgotten lunch money.
No more Christmas presents made of library paste and toothpicks.
No more wet oatmeal kisses. No more tooth fairy.
No more giggles in the dark, scraped knees to kiss or sticky fingers to clean.

Only a voice asking: “Why don’t you grow up?”

And the silence echoes: “I did.”



Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Tissue worthy indeed!

As a mom, I find myself biting my tongue most of the day. I've tried never to turn down a tea party invite from my daughter. But we're so busy! It's definitely hard to keep the transitory nature of this era in mind...Thanks for the reminder.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Julia Buckley said...

Lonnie, this did get me teary-eyed. I think parents are aware, even as they're dealing with the stress of kids right there, in their faces, how much of a vacuum they would leave if they weren't there.

Even when my sons have a sleepover I find myself wandering around feeling a strange contrast of relief that they're gone and a yearning for them to come back.

I have a million things to do, but when they're gone, I'm lonely anyway.

Jerry House said...

Lonnie, this is a variation of one of Erma Bombeck's best columns. I'm not sure which one came first, but Bombeck's version has stayed with me all these years.

Jerry House said...

Lonnie, this is a variation of one of Erma Bombeck's best columns. I'm not sure which one came first, but Bombeck's version has stayed with me all these years.

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