Junior, Mum and Dad Get Tired Too, poem by Ruth Torty at Spillwords.com
Frank Mckenna

Junior, Mum and Dad Get Tired Too

Junior, Mum and Dad Get Tired Too

written by: Ruth Torty



The day we brought you
Back from the hospital
We were so excited and eager
We loved to hear you cry and laugh

I cried a lot in the days that followed,
When I saw other parents complaining
About diaper duty and the loud crying
I wanted to complain too
About how I had to hold you
Keeping your drooping head in position
And wipe the saliva off your lips

Then you came back, one random day
Looking sad and tired
Because the kids in school
Called you all kinds of names
The ones we intentionally hide from you
I bit my lips hard
Listening to your father’s voice
Tell you about how awesome you are
How a missing chromosome does not
Define you or who you will become

Then when your father finishes the pep talk
I catch the signal and move to stroke your hand
Allowing my mother’s touch to soothe your heart
We smile at you: acting in a scene we never rehearsed.

Junior, we also get tired; yes, Mum and Dad get tired.
We plant frozen smiles on our faces
As we watch people glance at you in that ‘pitying way’
As though to say
‘Sorry, you got the abnormal child’
We laugh politely and shrug it off
When all we want to do is scream out in anger.
Tell the world there is nothing like that
That you are normal!
Only in a way the world is too proud to see.

We get tired of hearing your tears
Knowing your child is passing through pain
And unable to command the sun to move in their defense
It is the sense of helplessness we hate to have
And yet it grips us all the time.

Caring for you,
Adjusting everything to work around you
Allows us to feel in control
We get tired too
You think we are ‘all over the place’
When we can not be in every place
That truth keeps us in check
And rips us at the same time

Then, there are days when we put up a show for you.
A drama that feels so strange
Yet has become second skin
When you ask us that question of seeking assurance,
We say together,
“Of course, baby. You will be fine. You are going to fulfill all your wildest dreams.”
You nod vehemently
We don’t, but we are also trying so hard to believe it.

Those nights, when we go to bed
We hold each other and cry our souls out
Calling on GOD to save you.
Then I reach out and open up my phone gallery
And open the picture of you with the dolphins
Fulfilling one of your wildest dreams
I sigh and whisper to your father
“Sometimes I am so tired.”
“Me too.” He whispers back
Then we both look at your picture again
“We are blessed.” We say together
“Any regrets?” Your father asks
Then we laugh and talk about you
All the funny moments we have had with you.
We keep talking about your future
The kind of girl you would bring home
Until someone starts snoring first.

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