pride and screaming

I stand in the hallway

screaming from my roots –

one long screech from the four corners of my feet, from my pelvic floor, from the tips of my fingers.

 

My two-month-old sleeps

in her bouncey chair not five feet from where I stand.

My 23-month-old kicks and scream-cries behind her closed door on my right.

My 6-year-old plays in his room on my left.

And my husband leaves work

to drive to the city where he stands at his mother’s hospital bed.

 

There is nothing pretty here.

My breasts leak milk

and my post-partum belly hangs

deflated over my waistband.

I call my mom;

I pack diapers, wipes,

bottles, formula,

breast pump, nursing pads,

clothes, toys, a sippy cup,

and buckle the kids in their seats.

 

We drive two hours north east

and meet my parents at my sister’s house

where everyone takes care of my babies

and I sleep.

 

Screaming cracks the bricks of  my independent facade

and I ask for help.

 

Help is beautiful.

when it’s time

our two-year-old runs
to me, her bare feet smacking
the hard floor. Smiling,
she asks me, “may I watch a show,
when it’s time?”

She runs away and runs back,
“May I have chocolate,
when it’s time?”

And again, “may I play on your phone,
when it’s time?”

I answer yes, yes, and yes,

and then I pray
to have her kind of
happy, confident faith
in the fullness of God’s time.

to be happy with

When my fourth baby is a few months old
I lie with my back on the floor,
fingers reaching one way, toes the other, and the hem of my shirt pulls away from the waistband of my pants.
My three-year-old daughter who kneels beside me asks,
“Why is your belly so wrinkly?”
My immediate shock and surprise fade, and I mentally leap into a readily available pit of despair. Then I offer her a cursory explanation of skin’s elasticity and the effects of multiple pregnancies,
and gravity.
And, as if she hasn’t listened to a word I’ve said,
exclaims,
“It’s Beautiful!”

Indeed.
That fourth little babe is now over a year old
and wouldn’t you know he blows the best raspberries on that wrinkly old skin there ever was.