Thursday, April 07, 2011

NaPoWriMo #7: curriculum vitae

My friend Steve from my poetry group recently finished an excellent CV poem and challenged the rest of us to try it. I did one for NaPoWriMo last year, but recently I've been ruminating on a different direction to take on the concept--my CV as a mother.

How appropriate that pregnancy was the catalyst to get me writing this; at 3:30 this morning I woke up after a particularly bizarre dream and found myself with insomnia (both things that happen often when I'm expecting).

Written when and how this was , it is a very, very rough first draft. In fact, as I read it, I'm almost not wanting to post it because I realize it's an uneven mix of imagery and narrative--but that's the beauty of NaPoWriMo. I write a lot of fresh, raw stuff, and figure out what works, what doesn't and what has the potential to be developed further.

Resume of a Reluctant Mother

I was born the first of five children
to a good man and good woman
who were each lonely before marriage
and lonelier after.

My early childhood was a happy haze
of beaches, blackberries and books.
My father had an unnamed rage
used the belt on us
like an artist uses paint on canvas
but sang us to sleep at bedtime.
My mother had an unnamed sorrow
her children couldn't know or fix
gave us no boundaries
but sewed our clothes
and baked bread in yeast cans.

The last half of my childhood
I spent as a third parent
while my mother and father took turns
trying to run away
from discontent at home.
I was babysitter, cook
laundry washer and ironer
tyrannical big sister
and unwilling partaker
in my parents' disaffection.
When I was sixteen
my father and mother gave up the fight
of staying together for their children
and for a year or two
we were all happier.

At the end of my senior year
my parents remarried
within a month of each other.
We stayed with my mother and stepfather
got four new brothers and sisters
grieving a mother lost to cancer
just a year before.
I was still the oldest
and at eighteen, took my own turn
running away from home.

At twenty-five I married
terrified but hopeful
I would not repeat my parents' mistakes.
Instead, I made my own.
I waited too long to have children
traded stamina and immaturity
for patience and rigidity.
In the end it was a fair trade
for motherhood came hard to me.
I thought it would be different
with my own children
if I chose to have them
loved them because they were mine.
Instead, I found myself
living out my own unnamed sorrow
one that brought back the agony
of responsibilities I hadn't chosen or wanted
except this time, I had.

This time, I could only blame myself.
I could, and did
but now I'm done blaming.

I've decided this story will have a happy ending.
I've decided sorrow and joy can and do coexist.
I've decided I can be a mother
without that being who I am.
I've decided I can love my children
my husband and myself
all at the same time
because I have enough love to go around.
I've decided to let go of resentment
again and again
as many times as it takes.
I've decided to be grateful to my parents.
I've decided to make peace
with my mistakes and flaws
for they have shaped me but do not define me.
I've decided that while I didn't always know
I wanted to be a mother
I do now.

1 comment:

limugurl said...

glad you decided to post it...I LOVE this one.