Now We Are Six

by Audrey on May 10th, 2012

Somewhere, sometime along the path of my childhood, I attached myself to poetry by Eugene Field, Edgar Guest, and A.A. Milne. I think the love of poetry was passed down to me by Mama - she had this little book of poems and she read them to my sister and me. I loved those times with her.  Mama read with such expression, passion, and dialect – the kind that gripped me, drew me in, and left me wanting more. Often I would find the little book and read the poems to myself in alone times. I did my best to mimic her.

Somewhere, sometime along the path of my adulthood, I tried to track down a copy of that little book. I never found it.  But in my searches, I began to collect complete works of each of those authors.

And then I began to read them to my children.

When we moved to Beaufort, one of my little boys was 6 years old.  It was July and the ride from Texas to South Carolina was long.  We had fun on the trip after a weepy goodbye in Dallas. 

We loved the Lowcountry immediately.  The Spanish Moss draping the Live Oaks, the canopy of trees arching over the picturesque roads, the coastal waterways weaving in and out of the marshes, the ospreys making nests on poles, the bridges, the salt air – all of this was so breathtaking and so vacationy.

But after being in this new place a couple or maybe three weeks, the children and I thought, “We’re ready to go home.”  Vacation is over.  We missed Texas.  We missed our little house, our street, our church, our friends, our school days, our everything.  One day we were sitting together doing schoolwork in our rented house and all the children began to cry.  It was a sobbing day.  A missing day.  We missed our other life.

It was also about this time that my six year old would disappear into his room and lock the door.  What are you doing son?  Oh, I’m working on something.

August 19th rolled around.  And it was then that my six year old presented to me what he had been working on in that closed, locked room:
I know it’s hard to see it.  But he had hand-copied the entire poem “Seein’ Things” by Eugene Field and at the top he wrote, "Happy Brithday, Mom."  No, I didn't misspell birthday.  It took up the whole front page and half the back.  He knew it was one of my favorites - see, I had it memorized - and I had read it and recited to the children many many times.  To this day, this hand-copied piece of paper is one of the most special presents I have ever received. I preserved it with contact paper. It was wrinkly (as he said) because he worked on it so hard.

It was the perfect gift for a sobbing, missing, bittersweet time in my life as a mother.  I will never forget it.  Back then, he was only six years old.

And today?  His firstborn, my first grandchild, turned six.

I don’t know.  I was just thinking about these things today.  I love being a mother.  And I love being a grandmother.  Some days are just sobbing, missing, bittersweet days.

Seein' Things

I AIN'T afraid uv snakes or toads, or bugs or worms or mice,
An' things 'at girls are skeered uv I think are awful nice!
I'm pretty brave I guess; an' yet I hate to go to bed,
For, when I'm tucked up warm an snug an' when my prayers are said,
Mother tells me "Happy Dreams" an' takes away the light,        
An' leaves me lyin' all alone an' seein' things at night!

Sometimes they're in the corner, sometimes they're by the door,
Sometimes they're all a-standin' in the middle uv the floor;
Sometimes they are a-sittin' down, sometimes they're walkin' round
So softly and so creepy-like they never make a sound! 
Sometimes they are as black as ink, an' other times they're white—
But color ain't no difference when you see things at night!

Once, when I licked a feller 'at had just moved on our street,
An' father sent me up to bed without a bite to eat,
I woke up in the dark an saw things standin' in a row, 
A-lookin' at me cross-eyed an' p'intin' at me—so!
Oh, my! I wuz so skeered 'at time I never slep' a mite—
It's almost alluz when I'm bad I see things at night!

Lucky thing I ain't a girl or I'd be skeered to death!
Bein' I'm a boy, I duck my head an' hold my breath. 
An' I am, oh so sorry I'm a naughty boy, an' then
I promise to be better an' I say my prayers again!
Gran'ma tells me that's the only way to make it right
When a feller has been wicked an' sees things at night!

An' so when other naughty boys would coax me into sin, 
I try to skwush the Tempter's voice 'at urges me within;
An' when they's pie for supper, or cakes 'at's big an' nice,
I want to—but I do not pass my plate f'r them things twice!
No, ruther let Starvation wipe me slowly out o' sight
Than I should keep a-livin' on an' seein' things at night!

Posted in Mothering    Tagged with My Children


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