FILED IN: Parenting

“My Candle Burns at Both Ends” — Poems by the great poets’ parents.

The Passionate Shepherd to His Son
By Christopher Marlowe’s Dad

Come drive with me and just be quiet,
And we will live on a junk food diet
That valleys, groves, road trips, and fields,
Woods, or rest stop yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks
(If, under the seats, we can find your socks),
By the shallow river next to Motel 6.
With folks in Waffle Huts we’ll mix.

And I will make you look at things
That will educate you, and we will sing
“I’m Bringing Home a Baby Bumble Bee,
Won’t My Mommy Be So Proud of Me!”

Until I slowly begin to lose it.
Let’s take a break. There’s the exit.
I hope the Cracker Barrel has a bar.
Boy, don’t make me stop this car.

We’re making good time, son, you and me.
Stop whining! You’re driving me crazy.
Look over there at that license plate!
It’s a big shiny car from out of state!

Roadside attractions beg our attention.
Happy Meal toys too many to mention.
The hotel help will fetch clean trays
While we wait at the complimentary breakfast buffet.

If all these delights thy mind doth see
Then get in the car, but first, go pee.
It’ll be fun, dammit. This is as good as it gets.
Don’t ask again: we’re not there yet.

By Joyce Kilmer’s Mom

I think that I shall never see
A kid that eats peas willingly.

My kid’s hungry mouth is prest
Against a donut, not a chicken breast;

He begs for sugar and junk all day,
And whines when I say “No Way;”

Upon my bosom guilt has lain.
I look upon my cookbooks in pain.

New food I make to get him enthused,
But all he says is: May I be excused?

Meals are made by fools like me,
But only God can make kids eat healthfully.

Dropping Off at a Birthday Party on a Rainy Afternoon
By Robert Frost’s Mom

Whose party this is I think I know.
His house is in the village though.
His mom couldn’t hack a party at home.
Thirty kids in her house and insane she’d go.

So here we are at the Party Palace
In a faceless mall in the suburbs of Dallas.
Twelve bucks a kid, including a cake.
Pre-paid fun that’s somehow callous.

I thought I could drop him off and then just go.
My child wants me to stay with him, though.
I was hoping to have some time to myself
At Starbucks with a Venti Joe.

I’ll sit and yawn and watch him creep
Though plastic tubes, dank and steep.
With hours to go before I sleep.
With hours to go before I sleep.

My Kid’s Behavior Is Nothing Like The Rest (Sonnet 130.1)
By William Shakespeare’s Mom

My kid’s behavior is nothing like the rest.
Everybody’s parenting is better than mine.
If I say anything he puts me to the test.
In the books I search but no answer I find.
Is this normal? I cannot tell.
And in some families is there more delight
Than in mine, where all we do is yell?
I fear all I’m doing is losing the fight.
I’ve tried my best to be a good planner
But he’s always running late; the time just goes.
I grant I never saw good table manners
Or an hour without his finger in his nose.
     But there’s no controlling how my kid will fare,
     So I’ve decided to try and not compare.

Cleanliness Is Counted Sweetest
By Emily Dickenson’s Mom

Cleanliness is counted sweetest
By Moms whose kids are slobs.
To comprehend a bed that’s made
Amid dust and greasy doorknobs.

Not one of all the playgroup moms
Who hosted Bunco this year
Can tell the definition
Of a neat playroom, so dear,

As you, Mom, defeated, dying.
Your pleas fall on deaf ears.
They’ll never learn to pick up their crap.
To you, this is perfectly clear.