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Once Upon A Time

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C’mere baby, let your mama tell you a story,
Let me whisper in your ear,
All those things you need to hear.
But baby, promise me
You’ll listen well.
Promise me, you’ll love me anyway the story goes.

And she climbed up on my lap,
Big brown eyes and skin of gold,
She climbed up on my knee,
Despite the shakin’ it did,
And before the story started she whispered in my ear,
“Mama you tell good stories, I don’t care what I hear.”

It was the hardest thing I did that day,
Tellin’ my little girl ’bout mama in a different way.
Once upon a time started forming on my lips,
But she looked at me with those bright eyes and I knew …
Once upon a time was as good as my story gets.

I put my arms around her tiny little frame,
Holding on just one last time,
To what we had before I told my baby that day …
About the time when I gave her brother away.

I think the tears started comin’
Before I said a single word,
But I just kept on goin’
Hoping I could make it through despite the hurt.

Her perfect eyes started welling up with tears,
And I shuttered at the thought
That I’d just grown her beyond her years.
My words just kept coming,
Like a river ready to go over the edge,
My story … like the waterfall
From where Pocahontes lept.

How could I ever put into words,
That day I let him go?
Would she even understand my need for her to know?
I heard myself talking, I heard the words as they spoke,
Yet deep inside I agonized …
Will she resent me for what is now not just my own loss?
I told my baby that day,
’bout the brother she didn’t have … but at what cost?
Trembling and crying, doin’ my best to get through the words I’d said,
I couldn’t help but see, my little boy right next to me,
As I told his sister – as I shared the story –
And right then and there,
When she reached up to touch my hair,
It really did feel like Once upon a Time …
It really did feel like both of them were mine.

Baby girl … are you okay with me?
If there’s anything you want to ask, just ask me.
In silent pause, with our arms wound tight,
For the first time that night … I felt like things were gonna be alright
As she lifted up her chin through streaming tears of her own;

She said, “Don’t worry mama … the story won’t end until he’s home.
And mama I promise you,
I’ve listened well.
Now promise me, that’s a story we’ll always tell.”

How does a mother keep secrets from her babies? Which ones do we tell,
Which ones do we keep?
Sweet baby of mine …
Tell me, oh tell me,
I’ll get better at motherin’ you with time.

Mistakes we’ve made,
Come all so clear
In our own reflections
From our children near.
And those regrets we can’t help but keep,
In the precious memories of for whom we weep.

Now it’s time to close this story,
To keep it tucked, warm and cozy
In my mothers heart, and now for you,
As a sister too …
One more hug baby doll …
One more kiss …
For Once Upon A Time such as this.

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