A couple of years ago, a writing prompt (the borrowed title is a clue) produced this. Poetry (with or without form) challenges me in both my reader and writer roles. Family features prominently in our musings about life and the changes we encounter. I often apologize to my own kids for the inevitable counseling they’ll need for the mistakes we made raising them (insert smiley face here); truth is, everyone has some weeds surrounding their family tree. That so many trees flourish and produce good fruit testifies to the grace of the Master Gardener.
I Was Raised
I was raised by Truth. Always better than a lie.
What that means is…
I was raised by parents who discovered — oops! — we’re going to have another baby!
Parents who suggested a family vote when deciding what to name me.
Wilhelmina. (which got 2 votes)
I guess I was lucky. Life would be harder if I’d been a derivative of a German emperor.
I was raised by wise and haphazardly diplomatic parents.
I was raised by a dad who called me his ‘little one’ —
who was born and bred a farmer
who loved the land and his family —
sometimes in that order.
who lost his father the day his first son was born.
I was raised by a dad who never permitted the family dog or cats to come in to
I was raised by a mom who loved me when I was most unlovable —
who ironed sheets
who never had a dishwasher
who cried when hail destroyed her garden
and silently sobbed when her baby went to war.
I was raised by a mom who pretended not to notice when we’d sneak the family dog or cats in to
I was raised by brothers who considered me a plaything.
who went to Viet Nam when I was six years old, and came back after
two tours of duty
Long-haired. Vacant. Changed.
The other —
who got married when I was seven years old on a Tuesday morning
No one smiled in the pictures. Oops.
They’re going to have a baby.
I was raised by brothers who were so much older that they never realized that I
I was raised by a sister who considered me a nuisance
who capriciously refused to play ‘Barbies’ with me
who dated a guy who drove a ’67 Chevy Impala and took me along.
who left home for college when I was 10 years old, making me
the lone princess,
the favored child,
the spoiled one.
I was raised by a sister who, in spite of her misgivings, became my best friend.
I was raised by raucous laughter and not a few tears.
I was raised by arguments.
I was raised by mistakes.
I was raised by failures.
I was raised by practice.
I was raised by effort, by trust, by faith, by love.
I was raised by sin and forgiveness.
I was raised by Truth —
And the truth is, I was raised by family.
But the greater Truth is simply this:
From death to life — I