Tuesday, June 05, 2012

response to the tiger mother…

I found this posted on Simple Mom. It’s a poem by Sarah Dunning Park, and she has a new book of poems out. Follow this link to find out more… I’m assuming I can repost if I give credit…

    Tiger Mother

My baby staggered
on flat feet and stocky legs
into her first classroom,
where we sang and clapped
and flapped our wings—

until the following year,
when I grew too pregnant
to bounce her on my lap,
and we had to quit
toddler music class.

When the new babies
could walk and talk
(and in fact, didn’t ever stop),
I tried again:
this time, I’d drop them off
and speed away
for milk and eggs,
or I would sit, mute,
in a waiting room,
gulping down the quiet.

I read Battle Hymn
of the Tiger Mother
and imagined myself
as zealous as Amy Chua:
we’d devote our time
to proficiency in scales
after lessons in tying shoelaces—
but the next day
my only goals were to fry eggs
and to finish a batch
of laundry.

That spring, it rained
and rained some more—
I heaped our schedule
with enriching indoor activities
while the ground outside
filled to capacity
and rejected the endless water,
sent it running off
in streams.

I herded the kids
under a sagging umbrella
to rush from car to class,
forgoing sidewalk worms
and an apple-green larva
spied under a leaf.

One evening
as we pulled in our driveway,
late for dinner again
and most of us in tears,
my hair prickled at the scalp,
my tigress claws clenched the wheel,
and I roared—

until they rolled out of the car
like cubs, tumbled into puddles,
made for the cover of the trees,
where they could
poke a stick in the dirt
and gather worms in peace—
just like I wanted them to.

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