Love of my Life

As I left that day to see a friend, overwhelming sadness flooded, a strain to leave you alone, even for a few hours.

I hugged you and wept, kissed your cheek, felt comforted with you in my arms, you’re used to me getting weepy now, it doesn’t bother you; the cycle of life reminds me, your time at home is swiftly ending.

As I drove, tears flooded my cheeks, remembering the years given to me with you by my side, depending on me to be strong for us both.

I wasn’t in the way I wished, and now I feel gripping presence calling me to make changes, do better by you. My time for taking on the challenges of others at your expense must cease.

Time will slip, the day will come when you leave the nest, and all I will see through blurry eyes is a the piece of me that is you; the core of my heart, moving on to a world I can’t fully protect you from.

The vulnerability and unexplained love I felt for you when you were born, I understand as the most precious bond I have, the most pure.

Our love endures, evolves, and I want to show you I know that what I see when I look at you is real. You, as you are, were and will be, fully accepted, adored, loved and remembered as the love of my life. The only true one.

Emily Cloward © 2018

Young Hearts

I.

Teenage love,
a daughter’s plight to get to speak to a boy,
not right for her in my protective eyes.

I see the bigger picture, one slip now and mudslides later,
young love is fleeting, lessons will be learned –

I wish her stronger than me without the burns.

II.

He sends you flower and heart emojis,
it makes your heart skip a beat,
but you’re worth more than pixels on a screen,
you deserve eternally better,
than speaking to liars,
those stuck in superficialities,
save those moments of butterflies for a boy who deserves my sweet baby.

Emily©

Strength

Faced with darkest days,
I feel the warmth of their need,
comfort at the sight of a tear,
a hug close to my heart,
a kiss on the cheek,
an eternal invitation to be their everything;
I become at peace,
given the strength to hold them high as I know they hold me.

Emily©

Warning

My anxiety is high
Living in this climate
Where a woman, mom, child, girl, has to shout from the rooftops
That there’s a problem, something’s wrong with the things that are said
Implied, justified, born on our shoulders, placed in our heads

In my microworld,
I can make a difference,
when my girls hear horrors at school from kids, or even teachers.

Teachers –
Not the place for a pulpit,
your own views about the world or how you think people should live within it, your ideals on homosexuality
or how women should dress or interact,
your forum to discuss discipline of your own daughters, what the fuck?
You’re spreading violence and hate,
In front of my girls,
and in this case,
I can do something,
I’m sending a warning,
to anyone and everyone who tries to test my patience,
I’m a bear with my children,
my efforts won’t be wasted.

Emily ©

Words Unsaid

Words unsaid,
It’s time to say them,
I was going to plan a poem for each one,
Each person, each memory that left a mark,
but time is precious and it’s becoming more so
with realizations of my mortality, the world’s.

I love my family. As much as I hide from some of them, as much as some of them have hurt me, there’s a girl who remembers the good times, a more innocent time, when our views were aligned. When Sundays meant going to see cousins and jumping on the trampoline, eating popcorn and cheese, while the adults talked “adult”. The kids played hide and seek, tricks on the staircase, sliding down each one, never a worry of injury,
sometimes a race to see who reached the bottom the fastest. Grandma giving piano lessons in 3rd grade, I couldn’t follow through so I taught myself later, but all remembrance of the keys is gone, even “the Entertainer”, that I used to play nonstop.

I love my brothers, natural and “step”. Such differing personalities, all from backgrounds that led to us being a family of nine. Nine children from one man and woman, combined. I was 19, and it was a lot to take on, being the only girl left in a house full of boys that would become men, including my own brothers who I helped in raising. I’m so impressed with all of them, with our journey as a blended family, with each of their personal stories.

My step-dad, “Pops”, I don’t say it enough, I never have, and it’s some block of conflict, a pull between “two”, my Dad and you, nothing either of you authored; a girl conflicted by having two fathers. I was resistant, I had been through some things, through other “fathers” that weren’t good for my family, then you came along, and through the miracle of time, I was able to see what a miracle you were for my mom, for all of us. Our banter is silly, we goof around mostly, but when I see you and you give me those giant bear hugs, a kiss on the forehead, I know that I’m grateful for how much you love me, and I love you.

You – I can’t say everything, not even close. My heart is still in a cinch over what happened, I don’t understand everything and I don’t understand him, all I know is I wanted to acknowledge the cycles you already lived, shake them, break them, help you heal. With all outside factors that occurred, combined with internal, combined with more “hers”, juggling three planets at once while my own was crumbling, trying to find some hidden meaning to all of the madness so I could take us out of the nose dive we were on, but it feels like you became collateral damage.

I don’t know when the rift will be mended, I don’t know if it will ever be. I just know you’re in my soul and I think about you, hurt aside, because I know we both feel it, as the baby I held at age 20, the little girl in so many of my pictures, still hung on my wall, I haven’t forgotten you. I won’t.

I’m out of words. For now.
Emily ©

Baker Baker (Lullabies)

“Baker baker, baking a cake
Make me a day, make me whole again”

Traditional lullabies didn’t stick when I was learning how to be a mom. Sometimes I sang hymns from church because they were easy to remember, “Love One Another”, being one of them. It had a nice, soothing melody and my daughter seemed to like it well enough.

My parents were really creative and made up their own lullabies for us as children. My father went on a Mormon mission to Italy and learned fluent Italian, and I remember him writing and singing us “Dormi”, the translation of the song is beautiful, and I wish I had it to transcribe right now. It was spiritual in its own right, it spoke of us being children of God, and being protected by him while we sleep.

My mother also created her own lullaby for us in English. They both have beautiful voices, and with so many kids to put to bed at once, their methods worked well.

For my daughter and I, it was one-on-one time up until recently, but she still asks me to sing her favorite lullaby, the only one I’ve really sung to her since she was very small: Baker Baker, by Tori Amos. It’s about lost love and lost chances and pushing people away, but it has a lullaby quality to it. Her music is soothing and melancholic and seems parallel to my sensibilities about life and how words that are healing are often those that are true and sometimes tragic. They prick deep down into your heart and force you to look at yourself and feel things that you may not want to feel. Though my daughter has heard the words hundreds of times, and may not know their full meaning, she knows who is sharing intimate moments with her, singing a melancholic song about the truth of humanity while also soothing her to sleep, cradling her still at 5’10”.

 

She

She’s been with us for over two years, after living with different families within family, she wanted to be here, a tumultuous undertaking.

She’s independent, yet vulnerable, affectionate and loving, a mediator that demands justice while being reminded to stay a child while she can.

She loves Batman and Robin, and most of all Nightwing, I think she’s actually in love with him.

She’s been through too much for someone so young. I’ve done what I know to do as a mother to help her heal, but I can’t escape the guilt of not filling the entire void for her while her cousin (my daughter) has it filled.

I know it’s an impossible dilemma and I’ve encountered comparisons, and impossible situations of my own that I’ve had to overcome, but ultimately she appreciates and loves me, she forgives me easily, doesn’t hold a grudge, and accepts me as I am.

She is a master snuggler, and these days I should take advantage of that, if not for my sake, for hers; she could use endless amounts of love and affection, and why not?

She deserves it.

Emily ©

Mirrors

Once a teen, I remember well, how it felt to think I knew it all,
Expand my independence, and raise my voice;
Make my own choices, debate the ones given me.
I wasn’t rebellious, just a back talker,
I guess I still am in many ways,
but I’ve learned through the years to be more aware,
and give mercy where it’s due, including to myself.

Merciful moments given to me, by my girls in their awareness are precious, and remind me that these beautiful beings that I have the gift of nurturing are like mirrors for each stage of life.

We want time machines, but they are them, déjà vu, past experiences relived, over and over again to be tested on how we would react face-to-face with our former selves.

Sometimes I don’t pass the test.

Most times they teach me something profound, parents usually repeat the refrain that their children are their greatest teachers, motivators, educators, mirrors, and I will say the same.

Once a teen, I remember well, thinking that I knew it all,
I spoke to my mother in ways I regret,
I didn’t see her with the mercy I should have,
I looked at her actions like that of a judge,
I felt she was invincible because she acted it,
She shed few tears in front of us because she wanted to seem strong.

But I know now the way she felt,
I know the fears she had,
I know the masks she wore to seem like she was invincible,
I know I showed her mercy sometimes,
and taught her things that were profound, and this cycle continues faced with the passing of time and growing pains from end-to-end, all encompassing love, warmth, and forgiveness. 

Love you Mom. Thank you for talking to me this morning. “You always make me feel better”.

Emily ©