Poetry as a Spiritual Practice for Moms (and everyone!)

claytonpumpkins

If I had a dollar for every time a mother said to me (about parenting) “make sure you enjoy it, because it goes by fast,”  well, I’d definitely not have to say to Clayton “Not today because mama doesn’t have any dollars in her purse” when he’s asking me to go on that train in the mall that doesn’t accept debit cards.

Moms love to talk about how quickly their children grow up. Even though mine are only 3 and 2, I am starting to understand it. I see little newborns and think “Oh! I loved those baby snuggles! I hope I appreciated them enough when I had them.”

As someone wiser than me once said “The days are long, but the years are short.”

Soon after moving to San Antonio, I met my friend Kyndall. She is a pastor, and a poet. I loved how many of her poems are autobiographical and narrative. They are like stories, but still poems. They inspired me to write poetry of my own, mostly about my kids.  I thought I would share a poem with all of you, along with my one and only tip for you to get started. Here’s my poem, Burdens  about Clayton learning to get dressed:

Burdens

Clayton, my three year old, is learning how to dress himself.

It’s a hoot!

Mismatched clothes aren’t the half of it

shirts on backwards (and upside down!)

out of season clothes worn proudly in public

the robot shirt every day of the week

— if he can get away with it

(and he usually can).

A few weeks ago he was struggling to get out of that robot t-shirt

grunting and straining

“Do you need help?” I asked.

“NO!”

“Okay.”

More struggling, more grunting

his arms all tangled up over his head

Finally…

“My arm is too heavy, Mama,”

So endearing, right?

My arm is too heavy. 

It’s like this three year old way of trying to say

I don’t know how this whole “getting dressed” thing works. 

Endearing, yes, but also heartbreaking, somehow.

my eyes welled up with tears at the sound of those words.

My arm is too heavy. 

I started to think of all of the burdens and struggles he’ll face throughout his life.

There are lots of times when your arms are too heavy, but that’s not the half of it

There will be times when it’s not his arms that are all twisted up and too heavy, but his spirit too

And his little heart.

I wanted to say “Sometimes my arms are too heavy, too.” 

But instead I smiled and said, “Here, let me help you.”

My one tip to writing your own poetry: don’t judge yourself. Don’t say to yourself “I can’t do it. I’m not a poet.” Sure you are. If it’s just for you, if it’s just to sit down and write out some things that you’re thinking about and feeling, you’re already a poet. Who knows what you will discover in the process.