After Life

no one really even begins to tell you the truth
or maybe they are but
you just aren’t paying attention

it’s not all roses and sunshine
sustaining and nurturing life
it’s work, sweet but also filled with sorrow

that first look promises everything
truths unfolding eventually
moments can be filled with as much suckness as joy

because that’s life
a bouncing between two extremes
hopefully nestling more towards the middle

there’s sickness and whines
lots of snot and green squirts
a feeling of “will this ever end?”

at times rejoicing at the child’s laughter in new discovery
that first walk, mama and dada hearing their names
and a multitude of things in the positive column

decades of months of patience
doing right by baby, by family and maybe herself
holding it together, for one and all

then along comes the back talk of teenager angst
rebellion, screaming matches, threats of eviction
the tears in a mother’s hearts grow deeper

years of up and down emotions
tears of capitulations and smiles of jubilation
limits tested until just about snapping

then the agonies fade, sweet memories recalled
old pictures remind us of the evolution of the tiny beings
child-rearing becomes just something we all went through together

pages in their story book filled by their imagination
now independent and free from guidance
their journeys beginning to take shape

a look back brings bittersweet tears
but glancing forward forms a smile
a face filled with pride for these men i birthed

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