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  • Jillian Lauren

T's Fifth Cha Cha Day!


Last year Tariku renamed his "Gotcha" Day (the anniversary of the day he was finally in our arms), "Cha Cha Day." Which is obviously the most awesome name for any day. Woe to the mother who expresses enthusiasm for such a thing... This year the “Cha Cha” name was strictly verboten. But between you and me, I'm keeping it.


We threw him a small party, just a few friends and neighbors. We ate cake, moved the coffee table out of the way in the living room and danced to "What Does the Fox Say" like sixteen times. And we told the story of his adoption. A family fairy tale, woven through with sorrow but ultimately triumphant. I stole the denouement from psychologist and author Brenè Brown (with whom I'm obsessed):You are imperfect. You are wired for struggle. You are worthy of love and belonging.


I always get reflective and nostalgic around his Cha Cha Day. I wrote this poem early that morning. I suppose it is less for him, exactly, and more for the moms out there. He'd rather have a dance party than a poem at this point anyway. I thought I'd share it with you.


TO MY SON ON HIS CHA CHA DAY:


Perhaps I know what other mothers do not.

Of necessity, I know that you were never mine to begin with that you are merely a loan

so precious that, Gollum–like, even though I have it in hand it leaves me wracked with longing like cherry blossom festivals or a great song you hear at the coffee shop and can’t rewind.

Perhaps I know too what other mothers all know that you have always been mine settling into my skin long before there was even a seed of you taking root miles from here.

These fingertips caught fire some nights for reaching, the same that first touched your silk cheek.

Out of nowhere you say: I was only a baby when Jesus died on the wooden cross. I think it was, yes I know it was a Tuesday.

In March. I was there.

It wasn’t my fault. I have no idea where you got ideas of fault or wood or belonging or March or Tuesday or God at all.

I wake up to your vinegary breath, your hands on my face, a mastiff puppy’s paws, too big, for your tectonically shifting frame a missive from the future these hands, that I cannot read except to know it ends with love.

Somewhere on a red dirt road flanked by corrugated tin lean-tos painted blue/green like a sea that is nowhere to be found, by waxy green leaves of false banana trees and round huts the same color as the ground, miles every day she walks in rubber flip flops toward the well and back again, red kerchief over her braids, carrying a burden of water, dreaming a shared dream.

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