Those Decades Past…


I walk with her around the duck pond
I tell her I’m withdrawing my hand so she can steady her footsteps without my support
letting go her hand as she had done to mine when I had gone from crawling to walking
…all those decades ago
I warn her to negotiate the cracks in the road, the undulations in the asphalt, the stumbling blocks ahead
with as much paranoia and worry as she had always shown for me
…in those decades past
I demonstrate how to bend each knee and wring out each hand
knowing fully well that its the struggles on my behalf that has often brought her to her knees and worn them so
And it is her supplications for me that have repeatedly brought those hands together and stiffened them so
…in all our decades together
I point to the colors of the sunrise, the ducks in the pond and the trails through the woods
I’m naming ordinary things, revealing unhidden truths, drawing attention to wonders
paying back from a son to his mother
in exact exchange for her service which was dedicated to me, mother to son
…in all our decades past
I listen to her as she talks, wisdom laced with nonsense, bravado undermined with deep insecurities
with things and words I know so well, so intimately
some that make me vomit and others that I think are my own
…from our decades together
So it is in the midst of this tension that I live now
of trying to be patient with the things I cannot stand, and learn the things that I should have
of knowing that time is not on our side and to honor her without dispute is the only choice, the only recompense
…for all our decades past
I love our life, our days together, our muted acceptances of each other’s choices
Now that I am apparently no longer her equal, I struggle to assert our equality, my humility
unlike all those times when one of us dominated the other
… in all those decades past.


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