#MondayMemory : Caretaker

I have forever been jealous of girls

who can’t wait to be mothers.

The ones who hold babies 

and make it look as natural

and easy as breathing,

envious of the ones who can

calm a toddler with the right

little game to play in the car

or funny face at bathtime,

and forever covetous

of the ones who children

flock to like baby ducks

do to water puddles.

 

It’s not as if I don’t love children;

I just fear I don’t have a motherly bone

in my body or a single caretaker 

trait to be found inside of me. 

Maybe I’m not patient enough,

maybe I’m too serious,

maybe I’m afraid 

I wouldn’t be good enough

to deserve their love.

Maybe I’d fail them 

as much as I’ve failed myself.

 

So, if I shrink away

when you hand your baby

off to me –

never think I do not love 

your child as an extension

of yourself. 

Don’t think I don’t value

their little coos of happiness

or tiny fingers wrapping 

around my thumb. 

Don’t think for a second

I’m not gazing 

into those tiny eyes

and loving the barest

trace of eyelashes

fanning across their cheeks.

Don’t think for a second

I’m not breathing in his

or her smell

and wondering

what it would be like

to give so much of myself

to something I’d created.

 

It’s not that I don’t want to hold your baby

and it’s not that I don’t like children 

or find them annoying

or repulsive

or disruptive.

 

Terror is the motivator: panic that such a little creature

will see right through me and know I’m scared

I’ll drop them or bump them.

 

And that I’d never forgive myself. 

Copyright © 2016 Pearl Bayou

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