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  • today I receive my babies back into my arms
    though one is taller and blonder than me
    and the other is sassy and small
    she has baked biscuits and made plum jam
    just like her mother and her grandmother
    he has made a top for his friend
    and a bracelet for his sister
    a woven multi-coloured rainbow
    and also a tapestry, just like his other grandmother
    there is shouting and grumpiness
    which I smoothe down like their beds
    we come round to smiling
    and the easy caress of mother love
    made into food and care
    and the softness of letting them play
    of saying yes more than their father would
    There's the windy cold day
    of going to the supermarket
    and the yes to things I would not normally buy
    for Francesca it's a pixie caramel
    remember the curly wurly the 50c used to buy?
    and now, unlike my mother, I tell her she needs to clean her teeth
    and for Christoph it's Japanese soy sauce and pockys in wild strawberry
    we go to the Warehouse, another store I would not go
    and there's the look on Christoph's face of when he was three
    and we watched Pokemon together
    there is a moment when my heart melts
    remembering the Irish jig we used to dance up and down the living room floor
    when it still was a living room
    and not a poorhouse starved of love
    and there's dinner made
    and laughter at the table
    and the movies watched, upstairs and down
    the cleaning off the Pixie caramel by the insistent mother
    who had too many fillings
    and the delight that her daughter's mouth opens up to receive all her teeth
    and the thought of braces not another shame
    and then at the end of the day
    after a heavy, mother laden sleep
    after the feeling that no writing has been done
    no thought captured
    I understand the sacrifice of holding the babies in your arms
    and letting the pen fall
    mothers' creativity wrapped around their children's care
    and the baby who is not born, still inside,
    waiting for air and light...
    Feed me, too.
    Or the woman who cradles her work or her art
    with the babies not born
    and waiting inside her for her to cradle them up and dance them round the room
    There are the tears, of deep joy and kindness
    for the children we care for
    and those we leave, tenderly swadled, asleep
    Perhaps my journey is to find
    how to care for both
    while also holding myself, tenderly, in my arms...
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