Back in 2011, I watched a friend care for her son during church, and then wrote the poem below. I sent it to the friend, and she posted it on her blog, but I realized the other day when I was looking for it that I had never posted it here on my own.
It's easy to look back on lovely times in the past and wish for them back, but in the spirit of my OLW for 2018, ENOUGH, I'm also posting a more recent poem, appreciating some of the advantages of my life now.
Holding a Baby in Church
As the praise band warms up
The mom notices me ogling her baby
And asks if I'd like to hold him.
Would I! I grab him, trying not to seem too eager,
And relish the feel of the bundle.
That sweet weight brings back
Years of Sundays
When the baby I held was my own.
In those years I lived more in my body than my head
As I carried babies all day
And nursed them at my breast.
I was indispensable,
Source of all they needed.
When we were apart
I could kiss ouchies over the phone.
I was the great and powerful Mommy.
I would stand to sing,
Relieved, because sitting down,
I was likely to go to sleep
(Another short night).
I swayed to the music, letting keeping the baby happy
Be my excuse to move.
Worship then was physical, primal,
As my tired body swayed back and forth
And as the fierce love I had for that baby
Reminded me, deeper than words,
Of the love of God for me.
This baby, who is not mine, starts to fuss
And I give him back to his mother.
I see her nurse him
And later I see them outside
And I remember that too,
Walking in the back of the sanctuary,
Pacing with a noisy child
Out of earshot,
Longing to hear the sermon.
These days I am back in my head;
I sit in the pew and nobody is in my lap or
Putting little arms around my neck.
I am clean and nobody has drooled on me.
I stand still to sing.
My shirt remains tucked in.
My children read their own Bibles
And I can hear the sermon all the way through.
As I look at the mom
Whose baby I borrowed for a moment
I wish for her life,
The aching body,
The dear, ever-present weight in my arms.
Praise be this evening for work ended,
the bare feet, the droning fan,
the smell of soy sauce floating upstairs from the kitchen.
Praise be the doves outside my window,
the dried eucalyptus in the bottle,
the empty mug, my tea already drunk.
Praise be the books on my shelves,
the photos of friends who smile at me benignly,
the fully-charged laptop, playing music I’ve chosen.
Praise be the lizard, scampering across the wall,
digesting bugs that will not trouble me tonight.
Praise be the quiet, the nobody needing anything,
the slight rumbling of my stomach that will soon be quelled,
the peace, and sleep not far off.
(Here's the first time I posted this one, back in April 2017, including a link to my mentor text poems, "Gratitude List," by Mary Lee Hahn, and "Gratitude List," by Laura Foley.)
Today's roundup is at Reading to the Core.
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