“You responded to my text:
it is time tho.” ~Eric Roller
You graduated preschool yesterday. Today is the first day of summer break and we are together all day. I am anxious about the loss of my writing time. My quiet time. My me time.
“Mommy, push me!” you yell from the swing.
I huff. From the bench I tell you to pump your legs.
“No, mommy! Push me!”
I clench. I have to-dos to think through. And if we are going to survive this whole summer together, you need to learn the art of independent play.
Your voice rides the fuse from your short vocal cords to my brain and ignites a poem packed there—it is time tho—about that grammarless, thoughtless message we all get from our children one day before we are ready.
it is time tho, you will tell me at a quarter of and you will let go of me like the booster of a rocket that has done its job—like:
we couldn’t possibly take you home from the NICU—it was time tho
I couldn’t possibly stop pumping breast milk—it was time tho
we can’t possibly put you on the school bus this fall—it is time tho
Poetry-sparked, I rise. Oh, the relief when my hand still spreads across your whole tiny back.
“Higher!” you yell from the billowing tulle of your princess dress. Your command is my wish.
Your eyes and smile widen as I summon my magic. What are parents of small children if not marvelous creatures that can pull fun out of thin air, blow away pain, and send you higher on the swing than you can send yourselves?
There is midnight to this magic—but not tonight. Thanks be to verse, I will not spend this summer on the bench. I am a giant. And when I push you on the swing, you fly.
Eric Roller’s poem, “it is time tho,” appeared on 16 June 2019 in Mothers Always Write.
Ingrid Anders is a wife, mother, and stepmother residing in Northern Virginia. Her most recent works have appeared in Eunoia Review, Brilliant Flash Fiction, and right here in Mothers Always Write. She hosts the Short Fiction Writing Workshop at the Washington DC Public Library and is a member of the Poets on the Fringe and the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD.