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In Due Time

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Sleeping in the rented Cadillac,
head propped against the window,
nodding, jerking. This couldn’t be restful,
yet you declined my offer of a lap.

You played footsies with my friend Marilu.
Later, I asked permission
to support your back with my arm
as you practiced floating in her swimming pool.

You shivered beside me in church,
inches from my warm arm.
Sleepy, you rested your forehead on hard wood
instead of my softer shoulder.

You mess up my hair,
dab flour on my nose,
decorate my shirt with duct tape,
grab my arm, tug me around.
These playful times I cherish.

I never nursed you at my breast,
swaddled you in blankets,
nor rocked you to sleep singing a lullaby.
I never bathed you, kissed your bruises,
nor bandaged your skinned knees.
I never read stories to you cradled on my lap.
I missed those tender moments in your life.

Our hugs are genuine now,
some even stirring,
when our eyes seem to speak for our souls.
Yet strangers hug, while I anticipate
carefree expressions of the deep affection
between this mother and son.

May 1, 2002

(I wrote this for my son who came to us just over two years ago through foster care,
four months before high school graduation. He is now in college, and we are investigating
adopting him as an adult.)

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