Autobiographical musings

“Too young to have a baby!”

They told my mom.

“You’re barely thirty-five,” they said,

“And your house is too small,

Unlike ours, with so many big rooms.”

It made no sense to take me away

When my mom’s maiden aunts had so much to offer,

And so I began my life

As the queen of their domain.

There really were no rules,

Except about coloring outside the lines,

Which struck Quelita as sloppy.

But there were no other restrictions.

I was welcome to be seen and heard

And encouraged to sing, dance, draw and laugh.

I listened to stories meant for a child,

Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty and Peter Pan

And I heard the stories they read to themselves,

Like Anna Karenina ( I’m still scared of trains).

I had neighbors and cousins

With whom to share my days,

And I knew the people

Who shaped their everyday lives.

The man from whom we bought flowers

The one who sharpened our knives

The Tuesday night people who played poker in the dining room

Adjacent to the bedroom where I would pretend to sleep.

I learned big cats were skittish

Pit bulls were protective

And baby chicks would morph quite quickly

Into angry roosters and egg-laying hens.

I learned they could die.

And I learned to believe in Jesus, who made all death immaterial

And loved little children like me.

Too old to be a baby,

I miss my aunts,

Who loved me unconditionally

And still live in my heart

Where they have big rooms

Into which I retreat

When I’m overcome by restrictions

Or about to forget I am loved.

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