She has the softest hands on Earth
Despite years of working, moving, lifting, building,
Clapping, and almost chopping off fingers while cooking,
Her green thumbs have not only planted flowers and vines,
the maple trees that shade our yard,
And too many tomato plants to count,
But also have grown and nurtured a
scholar, musician, and activist
out of a curly headed sapling
Over twenty three years of
planting seeds of knowledge and
Allowing me to decide how to sow them.
She lives in books and comes alive in between
Pages and paragraphs,
Between her imagination and her doodles in the margins,
Finding solace, humanity, and sometimes even herself in
The heroes, villains, flora, fauna,
and fairies she meets on her way.
She may very well be one of them,
Possibly a gnome.
Turning greys into Technicolor,
bringing depth into people’s two dimension lives,
My mother makes it clear that
you don’t need a PhD to be wise.
Nor do you need more than a desire
to know a lot to learn a lot,
and that there is so much that
you don’t know that you don’t know
in addition to what you know you don’t know
and what you actually do know,
so there are very few reasons
to stop trying to know more.
She’s earned every speck of silver in her once Arizona sunshine blonde hair,
Through working, through fighting,
Through learning, laughing, dancing,
And through standing strong
In bad times that felt like landslides,
And in stressful times when every option
was uphill both ways in the snow with no shoes on.
She knows that there is strength in
letting yourself be vulnerable,
And that weakness is less a failure or a flaw
Than it is a call for self-care,
Be it a nap, a movie, a margarita,
Or dancing in the living room to Led Zeppelin.
And she slings the weight of the world over her shoulders
As though it is as light as air,
Willing to hear out and help anyone
carry their baggage along the way,
And she hears you, and sees you,
because you are interesting,
and you have something to say
that she’d like to listen to,
Even if it is the saddest or
oddest thing she’s heard all year.
More than she knows, my mom has taught me.
She’s taught me that there are
so many ways to love people
Beyond being in love with someone,
That someone’s worth has nothing to do
With how many dollars are in their bank account,
That it is okay to fail, as long as I’ve tried,
That no matter how much money, effort, and poetry
No one can make someone love them if they don’t,
And instead of trying to document
every lie I’ve been told,
I should focus on keep short the list of lies that I’ve told,
Not because honesty is the best policy,
But because transparency feels better than guilt,
And “what ifs” sting longer than “oh wells.”
And that I can’t be afraid of change no matter
Who or what I’ve built I’ve world around.
So I’ll shout three cheers to moms,
Who sang me Peter, Paul, and Mary
Instead of Mary Had a Little Lamb,
Now, I’ve got a hammer,
I’ve got a bell,
And I’ve got a song to sing
In appreciation and gratitude,
Because whether I am one,
I am two,
I am three,
I am four,
I am five hundred miles away,I’ll always know where home is.