doing the best you can at nautilus teachings

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the question asked was
“did she do the best she could?”
it hit her
like a hard slap
across her cheek.
her mind reeled backwards
with the first thought being
‘did he do the best he could?’
momma always said
‘girl, you have to love the broken
they come from a crack
in the light
and don’t know how
to navigate, talk or even love…”
she knows now,
some 54 years later
that, yes, he did the best he could
with what he knew…
he himself was a product
of his upbringing…
it was the harsh truth.
when she looks back
and sees her childhood-
her mothers hands always busy
baking, mending, ironing, cleaning
she also sees her hands
teaching sunday school
leading cub scouts
heading up the p.t.a.
volunteering at school
and holding her daughter close…
the truth was momma
was on a pedestal for a long time
until the day she knocked her down
and accepted her momma’s truths
making momma human…
now at 54
the question lies before her
and she knows
without a doubt
she too was born broken
from a lit crack in the
red wooden steps
where the wildflowers grown
and are watered by
the blue waters of her faith…

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she knew her failures
what she exposed her children too
and she knows her truths…
today is mothers day
she sits next to her
momma’s nameplate in the
mausoleum
and begins to cry,
‘oh, momma i have failed
as a wife and parent,
i thought i was doing the best i could
with what i had
but when i look back
i never knew what the best was
or what the right answer was
and i failed by not seeking help
during times
when the load broke me down
revealing untruths to my kids
of what love is…
momma,
you taught me to love
to take it
to forgive…
i saw you begin to resist
his rules
i watched you rise up
helping others
and just when i thought
you were unstoppable…
death.
momma,
i did not get to ask you
so many things
so i lived a rose colored
and blind life
turning the other cheek
and accepted the wrong
kind of love.
forgive me, momma…’

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she traveled alone
and now sits
in heavy silence
on the cold granite floor,
hand upon
her momma’s name
willing it to open up
and reveal the living flesh
of her beautiful momma
now gone for 29 years…
she won’t venture to see him
unless he agrees to meet
her in a safe place, alone.
she will never know
or hear from his lips
an apology.
she has accepted this
forgiven him
but the yearning to
be loved
to be told
‘i’m proud of you.
i’m so glad you were born.’
will live only in her dreams…
did she do the best she could?
the answer is yes.
were people hurt along the way?
yes.
was she the best parent she could have been?
yes.
but, alas
this comes from a woman
who as a child
built a tower all around her
to keep her safe
knowing one day
she would have enough strength
to slay the dragons…
but life taught her differently
instead of killing the dragons
when she could,
she took the time
to understand
they also did the best they could
with the life they were dealt…
knowing this truth
she simply walked away
and never looked back.

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