'Cause Babies Don't Keep

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(lullaby, rock-a-bye, Lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek-peek-a-boo).
The shopping is not done and there's nothing for stew
And out in the yard there is a hullabaloo.
But I'm playing "Kanga" and this is my "Roo."
Look! Aren't his eyes the most wonderful hue?
(lullaby, rock-a-bye, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

Ruth Hulburt Hamilton, 1958

Someone was kind enough to share this poem with me after I made this post here. I was just remembering it as I put Hazel down for her nap this morning. Here I am, downstairs, waiting eagerly for her to wake up again so we can go on with our play together. I know that I say it all the time, but it' still never enough: I don't know that I could ever communicate to Hazel how deeply in love with her I am. The thoughts that come in the worst moments, that something could happen to either her or I that would prevent us from living out our days with one another is nauseating, hyperventilating. I remember crying over her little sleeping body the week we brought her home because I realized that the best case scenario is that I will never see her whole life, that I will never get to see Hazel as a little old lady, with her grandchildren, feeding the birds at the park. I just cried and cried because I won't ever see all of Hazel's footsteps on this planet. And if I do, that's even more tragic.

Another time I became inconsolable because I realized that from the moment I pushed her little body out into the air, all of her energy was going to be directed towards separating from me. She already is arching her back and pushing away from me so she can get down on the floor and explore. I clearly remember the last time that she fell asleep on me and we napped with each other, skin to skin. Can you hear my heart breaking? But I so love watching her learn and explore. Nothing gives me greater pleasure that to see her grow into herself. So I let her go, and just force my cuddles on her another time.

I just love seeing the kiddo she is becoming; so different from me, but still familiar. She is probably the most persistent person I know, and so determined. She works so hard, never giving up, to get what she wants. She is precise, too. Always on time, and rigidly scheduled. When I listen to her and satisfy her needs, I am rewarded with the most delightful company! She is funny, spunky, charming and precocious. She smiles at everyone, reaches out towards everything new and different. Hazel is very novelty-seeking and high-sensation seeking. I can tell she is going to be so intelligent with this sort of intense curiosity. She is bored of a new toy within twenty minutes and simply must have something new to figure out. She is adventurous, never afraid of a strange situation and always seeking new people and places. She plays hard, kicking an punching and laughing herself into a lather, and she sleeps like a champ when its all over. I so admire her tenacity and silliness. Her curiosity and physical strength. Her determination and sweetness. And her ability to know when she needs to rest her body and mind. She amazes me. I hope that when she reads this years from now she understands how much I appreciate her as her own person. I also hope that she knows not just how much I like being a mother, but how much I love being her mother. I feel truly honored to be the mother of such a wonderful person, and I'm so lucky that she chose me to settle down with.


Jaymee said...

sounds a lot like her mother to me.

HeatherNSteve said...

tears. just flowing down my cheeks. so true and so sad. your so eloquent. HUGS.