Monday, December 30, 2013


Mother's Hand-Antonas Sutkus

This is the yard where babies cry, where kites fly

where a warmly tended vegetable garden grows year after every perfect year

where my three children dug their holes to China (how deep is the world, Mom?)

where they crawled on their bellies in fresh dewy grass, and

glided down the driveway on steel runner sleds, where

they held book sales and set up lemonade stands and saved their money

in pink ceramic piggy banks, where they

fought each other with water balloons and squirt guns and found a way

to climb up to the roof and

then fall down (the first broken bone) and

as my magical powers of triage (both physical and imagined) faded in time

and as I was busy growing deaf (today is my 64th birthday)

they borne their own stars, children of the waterfalls, children of the glitter

children of the elms and the bumblebees.

After the chicken casserole and watermelon and cake, I

lie back in the hammock under a sparkling sun that will never stop shining

so says Amanda, the third of my cherished and adored.

Today is your birthday, Grandma

she kisses my cheek. I curve my arm and pull her closer.

how old are you, again?


that's old, she says, drawing out the "o". Then quiet.

her little brain is thinking, the sound of a spinning hamster wheel

her parents are 32. she is four. I am 64.


I think I just want to be 30. Instead of four.

why's that? I ask.

because I don't want to be little when you die.

*I built this poem around the last line (from an unknown author), with thanks.


  1. That last line grabbed my heart. Although not completely yours, it's a perfect ending for your lovely, heartfelt poem.

    1. Thank you, Linda. Wish I knew the author of the line; the story was told to me at a retreat...around a communal dinner table. It rang true.

  2. Beautiful - thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Thank you for taking a look, Naomi. I'm urging my friend who has five young children to write things down (from which good stories spring forth!)

  3. Oh, my!!! My grandson recently said, "Nana, you're old but you don't act like it."

    1. Don't you just love that? They are so innocently wise and observant. I wonder what his vision of "old" is.

  4. We have to realize the little ones see differently than us, try to come down to their line of sight and view the world like they do.. They'll understand more eventually, but for now is our pleasure that they will even talk to us.. ha. love.. mag

  5. pleasure it is; last night, New Year's Eve, snowing, the dark sky exploding with color, bonfire...and the kids...the kids made the whole night such a vibrant, happy one; thanks, Mike.

  6. And seeing it from the other side can be as shocking. I'm older now than three of my grandparents when they died. I'm older than my dad when he died. Since mom died at 93, I've got twenty-five years to go if she's the measure - but twenty-five years is nothing. Nothing.

    Every day has to count. I think I'll start going backward. I want to be thirty, too!

  7. "every day has to count"...wish I knew that when I was 30.