Whoever thought it a good idea to give young children puzzles?
Disney themes, barnyard scenes, the pile of kittens.
So many damn pieces
Scattered and stuffed
Mostly ignored, my daughter gnaws their edges until the parts are soggy biscuits
I just keep picking up
plodding along daily, hourly, returning trinkets to bin or basket
Along comes the three foot Tasmanian devil, dumping and throwing, kicking up dust
Then me, knuckles dragging on the floor, once again tidying up, arranging
Dervishly whirling through his bedroom,
I am ziplocking, color coding, duct taping.
I just want one clean counter,
A room I don't have to kick my way into.
My thoughts reflect a hazy mirror of
dinosaur stickers, unjacketed library books, half a Barbie, a Crayola tagged wall
Frantic with the clutter of jovially named diesel engines
I wish to design a line of toys with the neurotic parent in mind.
Toys with an automatic sanitizer.
Games that avoid repetitive jingles-"stir, stir, stir the soup" haunts my head.
The nightmares of Old MacDonald and his farm
while everyone is asleep and things are finally quiet . Finally.
I'd choose Ravi Shankar or Gregorian Chants to meditatively hum
through the plethora of plastic.
My toys would be pretty;
soft velvets, suede, and earth tones
No neon too bright for caffeine dilated eyes.
And puzzles with three pieces-- tops. Three big pieces.
Family friendly toys.
Perhaps an Easybake Oven which converts to a bar
where Dora the Explorer mixes mojitos at happy hour
and The Wiggles croon Death Cab for Cutie tunes.
I try these ideas out on my son who looks with raised eyebrow
as if I told him broccoli now comes chocolate flavored.
"That's silly." And he's off crashing a dump truck into the dog.
Some Questions for The Virgin
I want to know more about you, Mary, Mother of God.
Mother of Jesus.
You are adored for your virginal conception
But how did you experience motherhood?
How were you were able to encourage, support and create
a son who'd vow to save the world?
Was it inspirational bedtime stories?
Special summer camps?
How did you teach him to share, and so well?
O Mother of God, what would you tell us of Jesus' tantrums?
The exhausting nights you mopped his feverish brow
while your bones ached with love for him.
Were you, at times, frustrated and bored?
Did you always keep your cool?
Or were there days that you wanted to cancel the contract
feeling completely unqualified for the job
of raising The Divine?
Did you have aspirations of your own?
I have to believe your witty and determined self
sculpted space for a babe, would-be savior.
You were a damn good mom.
And as the flower is admired despite the work of the dirt and sun,
Jesus gets the credit.
Yet, he was the sweet fruit of your generosity, sacrifice, and playfulness.
Mary, what if you had more kids? Multiple messiahs.
Consider the possibilities.
Or, if you had none. If you burned your own candle and lit up the skies with O Holy You.
Your maternal benevolence may have been just what Earth needed
to be peaceful, to be sane.
But, perhaps a child was essential.
Possibly, Jesus was your muse, your vessel of potential.
Mary, maybe—like many of us,
even you required a child as a
second chance to love yourself.
And then to have to let him go.
To give him up for the world.
Were you tempted to pack a bag and run, Jesus and you, to somewhere warm and simple?
Escape to Canada or
a beach in Mexico where you could just play games and sing silly songs.
Eventually enroll him in preschool?
Shelter him from all the redeemer hubbub,
Keep him safe and happy and brimming with love?
What does it take, Mary, to make a Jesus?
I pick up her one-year-old body
Writhing, squirming to break free.
The chubby branch of her arm held out, palm upward
As if to say," Behold".
She is reaching for anything.
Desperate to make contact,
to study life with her fingers.
I hand her a Q-tip, a bank receipt, a rock
All of equal value to her who is scouring
this world in awe.
It all makes sense now.
This innate desire to gather, to marvel
To simply want something to hold.
Maureen Geraghty Rahe lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, Stephen, 3 year old son, Henry, and 1 year old daughter, Lucy. She teaches 10th grade American history part-time. Along with writing poetry, she is working on a book from which an article was published in the National Writing Project's journal, The Quarterly.