Day 4, National Poetry Month … I suggested to my mom that we could write a poem together and she had about as much enthusiasm for that as she might if I’d told her the doctor planned to amputate both her hands and feet. I guess we’ll see what she says tomorrow. (No, I’m not one who gives up easily.)
Today’s poem takes me back to when my children were young. Over the last thirty-five or forty years as women have embraced employment outside the home, questions about possible negative effects of raising children in an institutionalized day care environment have been raised and answered, raised and debated, raised and answered again. As a peripheral component of the so-called Mommy Wars, sending children to day care has both detractors and advocates.
I’m not posting this poem to criticize anyone. I always felt like I was the best caregiver for my children and was committed to raising them myself. Others have disagreed and are certainly the best judge of their individual situations.
However, when I wrote the poem, it was based on a poignant personal moment one day as I happened to be walking past the playground of a day care facility. I’ll never forget the little one whose hands held tightly to the metal fence and whose forlorn face stared longingly out at me on the other side of a chain link fence. I remember contemplating what exactly the child’s look and posture meant … and of course, I interpreted them through my own empathies. This poem reveals what I was thinking.