family walk

you used to wear skirts and climb trees.
now i’m greeted by a woman taller than me.
your sad eyes can read my jarbled thoughts.
these jarbled thoughts cause me confusion.

your long legs are carrying you now not nearly a teenager, still gangly in your longness, you are willowy like the trees you spend your hours in.

i catch sight of you, her, you.. through the dining room window where we eat our formal dinners and where i find myself sitting in the summer afternoons when all my children are outside.  i keep telling him i had three babies. i say it outloud so i never forget. i had three babies. i catch sight of you in the trees lost in your imaginary world.  i want you to stay a child forever, my baby.

after dinner in the long sunset of evening we take our family walk. sometimes all of us, except your father who would rather lay horizontally on the corduroy couch while the house is quiet. sometimes the boys are rambunctious. but sometimes it’s just you and me.  you are like me, you know that. and i see my playfulness in you as you run through the sprinkler, and i see the woman you might become.

tonight you lay your head on my lap like the child you used to be. and i stroked your hair and things felt right if for just that moment, you were my baby again and i was your mother.

in 1982, after the muppets and before cagney and lacy, we’d walk together hand in hand.  you, my youngest, up and down the hills and short streets of our new jersey neighborhood. those memories flutter from my mind so easily now. like papers out an open window.  i know that they are missing and it frustrates me.  but then i forget that i’ve forgotten and it doesn’t matter anyway. we watch the hummingbirds out the kitchen window, they flutter and take with them my memories. i see you as a woman, i forget you were once my baby, although deep inside my locked mind i know there was a time when i knew more of you.