Sewing all day with only Toby for company this week has made me lose my focus: I’m having a hard time typing accurately; I didn’t give yesterday’s Project Roundup a clever title; and I let my cell phone sit in my car and die, thus panicking my parents, who thought I had suffered the same fate.
Fortunately, I am not dead and now I have an excuse to put up a poem about parenting. The Writers Almanac had this Ellen Bass piece up in the last week or so and it really resonated with me, even though I’m still just a cat parent. (I guess worry is a universal emotion.)
After Our Daughter’s Wedding
While the remnants of cake
and half-empty champagne glasses
lay on the lawn like sunbathers lingering
in the slanting light, we left the house guests
and drove to Antonelli’s pond.
On a log by the bank I sat in my flowered dress and cried.
A lone fisherman drifted by, casting his ribbon of light.
“Do you feel like you’ve given her away?” you asked.
But no, it was that she made it
to here, that she didn’t
drown in a well or die
of pneumonia or take the pills.
She wasn’t crushed
under the mammoth wheels of a semi
on highway 17, wasn’t found
lying in the alley
that night after rehearsal
when I got the time wrong.
It’s animal. The egg
not eaten by a weasel. Turtles
crossing the beach, exposed
in the moonlight. And we
have so few to start with.
And that long gestation—
like carrying your soul out in front of you.
All those years of feeding
and watching. The vulnerable hollow
at the back of the neck. Never knowing
what could pick them off—a seagull
swooping down for a clam.
Our most basic imperative:
for them to survive.
And there’s never been a moment
we could count on it.