my life is cased inside so many parentheses
one curve just a reverse,
a repeat of the first
wakeup and bedtime
opening and closing parentheses
form the construct of our days
the one begets the other
and sandwiched between:
cereal O’s (maybe I love these too)
peanut butter and jelly time (every day!?)
bathtime (wash, rinse, repeat)
“Mommy, I need a wipe” (again?)
“Mommy, I’m hungry” (again?)
“Mommy, come play-read-sing to me” (again?)
the song plays on repeat
and don’t you love to hear your favorite song (but it’s probably kid songs playing!)
come on the radio just one more time?
We wake to sleep, one echoing the other
Mommy, Mommy, Mommy
swinging from beds to breakfast to baskets to bath and back again
the tempo never rests
and when this song echos into silence
the refrains so repeated
continue in my pulse
Parenting is full of such repetition. Some would say such monotony.
Repetition is actually a very important literary construct. Sure, in some poems, repetition might be used to show monotony of the subject, but that’s hardly the only purpose of repetition in literature. In poetic form, repetition is vital for cadence, form or structure, and emphasis.
Can we say the same about the repetition of parenting? What if we let the “mundane” repeated tasks provide a rhythm to our lives, instead of feeling like they beat us down? Could every mealtime be a refrain of togetherness? Every book read over and over a pleasant chorus?
Routines don’t have to bore us – they can provide form and structure, helping our children feel secure, and learn valuable lessons about organizing time.
The daily laundry, cleaning, even constant harping to pick up toys (I can’t resist pointing out that harping can have two meanings!)… could we instead allow these daily beats to emphasis the beauty of caring for a child from birth to adulthood?
Mama, I know it seems like the thousandth time you’ve told them to pick up their LEGO bricks. Or the millionth reading of Goodnight Moon. And if they take off their shoes in the car one more time…
But… let the repetition of parenting provide a tempo for you to sing to. Form the anatomy of your family body. Become the highlight of your days.
Like all repercussions… eventually the echos even fade into silence. Enjoy the song while it lasts. Then let it play on in your heart.