A Lament

 

You loved me when I was sick.

You held my hand

Placed cool washcloths against my forehead

Took my temperature faithfully

Fed me homemade chicken soup

Until I was better

And then we returned to normal.

Me, the athletic daughter

Disinterested in things of the home

Not wanting to marry at fourteen

And then I’d fall ill again

Mononucleosis

Too weak to walk down the hall

To lift my head to sip water

And so you cradled me

and allowed me to lie, to skip school,

to lounge around home because I hadn’t

studied for a science test

But then I had to go to school

And then we returned to normal.

You demanded that I learn to cook

Said that I had to clean house,

Including wiping down every leaf of every plant

You occupied my time with busy work

Never once praised me for my grades

Even when I got accepted to a good college

With full scholarship

And then I needed surgery

To remove a section of bone that had become infected.

You sat by my bedside at the hospital

The doting, loving mother for all the world to see

A mirage, but no one but me knew that.

When I moved out you cried.

Was it because you’d miss me?

Or that you wouldn’t be able to control me?

I never knew.

But when I had my first child,

You rose to the occasion.

Moved into my house.

Took over cooking, cleaning, caring for the baby.

You criticized every choice I made.

Even tried to convince me to leave my husband.

But by then I had become wary

Of your moves, your words

And so I didn’t listen.

And things returned to normal.

Until the next disaster.

Each time you pushed aside your angry,

Jealous words

And moved into my world,

Taking over

Or at least trying to

But as I aged, I grew in confidence

And learned that I could stand tall,

Knowing that my husband was there

To support me, love me,

Always and forever

And not just when sickness or injury

Came to visit.

And so life assumed a new normal.

 

About Terry Connelly

Terry Connelly is a retired high school English teacher. She earned her BA and Single Subject Teaching credential from California State University of the East Bay, in Hayward, California. She taught for 18 years at Newark Memorial High School in Newark, California. She was gifted to work with both College Prep students and those with learning disabilities.
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