She polks put-put golf looking holes in her play-dough
before turning it into an ice cream sculpture
then sings in hushed alto tones while tracing a helicopter
on a pad of bright white with a stick, golden brown.
"1, 2, 3, 4"
"a, b, c, d"
Head up from the lego table, eyes locked now:
"Your turn mommy!" She squeals, then proudly,
almost boasting, extends her pencil to me
like it's a unique, shining treasure
from a remote, distant, uninhabited island
that she voyaged alone to discover
so that I, and I alone, would be privileged enough
to receive this gift from her outstretched palm.
We are always taking turns and sharing our treasures.
He vacillates on the floor
between scooting, crawling, pulling up and falling down,
trying to discern, physically, with each shift and gesture
which surfaces are steady
which limbs are trustworthy
which positions lead to balance
and those that lead to crumble and thump and ouch.
Head up from the carpet, eyes locked now:
he reaches for me, from knees bowed, with both hands,
body so trusting, form so reminiscent of prayer,
that I tremble with the tenderness and responsibility of it all.
We are always learning how to crawl and be held.
When I am older, a womyn who has lived into my days
with hallowed fullness, body surrendering to the dust
from whence it came, soul retiring or having been gone
quite some time already,
and I am no longer able to tell stories
or charm people with my embodied whit,
please, if you love me, pilgrim,
remind my children
that I was a front-row, tenacious and on-time student
in the classroom of their lives,
and I studied hard, every moment school was in session,
sometimes observing quietly with curiosity,
other times questioning, hands in the air, the rationality of it all,
but most of the time taken aback with wonder,
by how each step of their development
retaught me all the gentle kindness I unlearned
in order to survive way too much pain
long long ago.
We are always taking turns
and sharing our treasures.
We are always learning how to crawl
and be held.
Tell my children that before they even arrived, I loved to learn most of all,
and from the day of their arrival, they were my greatest teachers.