Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Barefoot With Child

My first Mother’s Day was a celebration of sleeping baby atop Poop Mountain.

Sherwood worked graveyard shift. He offered to “watch” the napping baby while I went to church. He didn’t mention that he would be napping while watching.

It’s a little reported but true fact that napping babies wake up. Napping husbands who work the graveyard shift not so much.

Our eight month old woke up. His father did not. Our eight month old, unable to rouse his father, entertained himself by sketching, smearing, wiping, trailing, painting, and possibly ingesting through his ear-holes—poop, his own. I came home from church to a Mother’s Day tribute of poop-encrusted child, napping—once again—on an artful poop mound. The nursery smelled like a scene from the movie Slumdog Millionaire.

I cried.

Three more children quickly followed. They also tended to poop. I cried a couple more times—off and on. They cried.

Then they laughed and brought me wads of flowers ripped from the ground, trailing roots and dirt. I taught them to read the great books of their people, and sacrifice for the good of others, and dance the dance of duty versus personal fulfillment. Mostly, I raised them not so much to kiss me but to kiss their children.

For this, I am accused by my silly, short-sighted, materialistic society to be a do-nothing, stay-at-home mom. I have nine grandchildren and if each of those children have spouses and produce four children . . . well, you do the math.

That first kid, the poop artist, he grew up and went to the Amazon as a warrior. Then he went to Greece, and Spain, and Iraq, and Afghanistan and Texas as another kind of warrior.

This Mother’s Day he sent me a zombie novel, a rifle, and a note:

"To the greatest survivor I have the honor of knowing. In this text lies a story of great adventure. Happy Mother's Day.

From: Your Son--Stay Alert, Stay Alive!

And I earned every word! By the way, I finished a five hundred page zombie novel in three and a half days and harvested a butt load of green beans from my garden, pressure washed a chicken coop, and finished the second draft of an eighty-thousand word manuscript on a new book and . . . . try to keep up . . . would ya’.

Linda (Barefoot and With Child) Zern

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