Mumpty, Mumpty Sat on the Wall…

Mumpty Mumpty, up there on the wall…
You look at your babies, both now grown so tall
That their uniforms probably won’t even fit
When we finally get ourselves out of this shit.

You look at the table, the mess on the floor,
The toys that are trailing right out the hall door.
You look at the school books, still sitting in piles
You see your to-do list that still goes for miles.

You stare at the laptop, then set it aside,
For you know all the work that awaits you inside.
You fight off the constant attacks of the guilt
That now sit on your shoulders and won’t seem to quit.

You listen to questions, to snaps and to fights
You wonder how many more hours until night
When you’ll finally get your wee darlings to bed
When in dreams, you would tuck them in, kissing their heads,

Before putting your feet up and watching TV.,
But these days that simply won’t happen you see,
For once your kids finally succumb to their sleep
It’s time to start working and trying to keep
Up with zoomcalls and emails and missed calls and work,
All the things that one simply can’t do while we burp
Our baby on our knee, or are wiping a bum.
While trying a failing to work out a sum
That we possibly learned ourselves while in 3rd class
But that now we don’t understand, nor would we pass
Our son’s Irish exam or his History or sciences
And we wonder while stuffing more socks in appliances
How much of this stuff we have learned but forget
How much of it really was needed, and yet
We feel like a failure for not being able
To answer the questions being fired from the table
Like missiles and bombs that might make us explode
And the dishwasher’s beeping to signal its load
Is all done. It needs emptied and does the machine
And speaking of empty, the fridge needs restocked
For breakfast, break, lunch and dinner are all round the clock.

While washing the dishes, we’re answering calls
We’re hitting our deadlines and cursing our walls
That we’re all sick of seeing. We long for normality
Where work is for work and where home is for family.

Where hours are set for the parts of our lives
That are suddenly jumbled together like knives
In a drawer that’s a mess, where nothing is found,
Where as parents we can’t keep our feet on the ground.

We’re doing our best, but we’re doing too much.
We’re tired and stressed and our brains are like mush.
We’re trying to be parents and workers and teachers
To be friends to our children and support our teenagers

But stop. Take a minute and gather your thoughts.
Who says that we have to keep joining the dots?
We can’t do it all. It’s impossible really
To try to do everything we once did so easily.

And who is it really that’s making these rules
That we all have to manage to mix work and school?
We can’t do it all. It can fall asunder
We’re breaking ourselves with the pressure we’re under.

Our children need school, of that there’s no doubt
And they’ll get back there soon and with glee we’ll all shout.
There’s light at the end of this tunnel, you’ll see.
And soon, all of this will be just memories,

But now, in the meantime, go easy on you.
And remember there’s only so much you can do.

Maria Rushe
February 2021

A Mum Was Born Too

“A Mum Was Born Too”

Oh! Congratulations, you’ve become a mum,
However you got here, come join in the fun.
It’s really the most natural thing in the world
And women have done it forever you know…”

“So why then, please tell me, for many of us,
Do we struggle and worry and panic and fuss?
How come it all comes so easy to YOU?
And how does SHE always know just what to do?

Why do I feel like a haven’t a notion
No matter how long I’ve been swimming this ocean?
Why does it never seem so obvious
If what I am doing is the right thing for us?

Why, even though I’ve been Mumming for years,
Can zipping a coat up reduce me to tears?
Why do I spend my whole day so uptight
Convinced that nothing I do could be right?

Why does it feel, that for all of my thinking
That I’m possibly, certainly, definitely sinking?
How can ‘the most natural thing in the world’
Continuously spin me and throw me in whirls?”

Well, stop and I’ll tell you, you beautiful lady
We all have these days with our beloved babies.
And no matter what age they are; wee tots to teens,
They test us and try us all the days in between,

And as for you asking why you find it tough?
You’re not on your own, we all have it rough.
Remember that day that your child came to you?
Well remember that day, that a Mum was born too.

The first little cry that announced their arrival,
Set YOU on a path to ensure their survival,
You instantly put yourself second and third
And started to navigate through this new world.

You nurtured and cared and you directed their way
Through the phases and stages and good and bad days,
But while you are focusing on helping them through,
Did you stop to consider that Mums are new too?

We’re all learning daily. And we all make mistakes.
We all doubt ourselves and we all need our breaks.
We need to go easy and give ourselves credit.
We’re all writing books we have no chance to edit.

So don’t look at others and start to feel bad.
And don’t beat yourself up if a day turns out bad.
Give them a hug and take a deep breath,
And give yourself credit for doing your best.

There’s no graduation. There’s no interview.
There’s suddenly more love than you ever knew.
And nothing prepares you for what is to come,
Each day that our kids grow and learn, so does Mum.

Maria Rushe
2020

The Road NEVER BEFORE Taken…

Every year, I teach Robert Frost’s ‘The Road Not Taken’, whether it’s on the course or not.

I love it. And I love passing his wisdom on to my students. Sometimes, the hardest decision is the best one to make. The obvious, “easier” route may be more appealing; safer even, and yet those who took the road less travelled, will always in hindsight, confirm that it was the right road to take.

I love to use it as an encouragement to my students that they shouldn’t always follow the crowd, that they don’t HAVE to take the road that they feel has been laid out or paved for them. That when it comes to it, they must follow their gut and trust their instincts, and that no matter which road they choose, it will carry them onwards, to somewhere.

And yet this year, for the class of 2020, I cannot use this as I always do. Because this particular class group are not in control of their choices as they should have been. They have all been directed towards a new road; a road NEVER taken by any of us before them.

“knowing how way leads on to way…”

And unfortunately, the lay of the land means that there is no safe or usual road for them to pass through the end of school and on to the next stage of their journey.

It’s new and unchartered territory for them, for their parents and for all staff in the schools they attended.

And yet… this time next year, they WILL have travelled this new road. It will have brought them to their next destination.

A year from now, they will have moved through the current chaos and will be looking back on this time, glad that it has passed and no longer stressed by the situation.

Some of them will be working, or in college, or at university; physically or virtually…who knows? They might still be at home, having taken a year out, waiting for the course they plan to do to start, excited and ready to begin the next stage of their lives.

And while there is still uncertainty for our Leaving Cert students, and none of us can know where their roads will take them, this is not new. This uncertainty is the one thing that they ARE getting to experience like every other LC group before them.

And yet, for all of them, in a few months time, that uncertainty will have passed and they will be travelling on the next road of their journey. They will not still be standing at the crossroads wondering which road to take.

The road onto which our young adults are stepping, is new. None of us have been through it. So really, none of us are in a position to tell them how they should feel or how it will go.

I used to always tell mine “You’ll be fine, just like everyone who has done it before you.” I can’t say that this year. (Firstly, because they are not in front of me, and secondly, because they are trailblazing a new road.)

We old fogies have not been through this before them. We can not fully understand. We shouldn’t pretend to.

This group have lost much. They’ve lost their right of passage through the final weeks of school. They’ve missed their last classes with favourite teachers (and the joy of a final class with not so favourite!).

They’ve missed prizegivings. They’ve missed graduations. They’re missing their end of year celebrations; parties, masses, whatever events and celebrations that are traditional to their individual schools that they have expected and looked forward to for the past six years. For many, they’re missing the ending of 14 years together, through national school to now.

And as adults, we shouldn’t dismiss their sadness at missing these things. These losses are as important to them as our problems are to us right now.

But onwards they WILL go. And while they are indeed on a road never before taken, they will travel onwards.

To our school leavers, (especially to my own brilliant and inspirational young people) I want to wish you well. You are bright and talented and the world is yours for the taking. Trust and stay positive.

A year from now, you will look back. You will have moved on. You will be on the next stage of your journey, and while you will have travelled there on a new road, an uncertain road and a perhaps frightening road, there was a road. And you took it and it is taking you forwards.

And I truly hope that you know that wherever it has taken you, it is the road you were meant to be on.

As Frost said, “I-I took the road less travelled, And that has made all the difference.”

Whispers on the Wind – a Bedtime Story

Whispers on the Wind

Two little sisters played on the beach

And just when their parents had stepped out of reach,bwbeach

Wee Sis asked Big Sis in quiet hushed words,

“What’s going on Sis? What’s wrong with the world?

 

Everything’s changed in the last few days.

It seems like all that we do now is play.  

I miss my school teachers and I miss going to school.

I miss all my friends and I don’t feel too cool.

 

What happened to dancing, gymnastics and drama?

I just  want to cuddle my Granny and Granda.

I like it that Mammy and Daddy are here

It’s nice, and I like, but it’s getting quite weird.

 

So what’s going on Sis, what’s wrong with the world? 

I know something’s wrong but I don’t have the words.

I don’t like to see all our grown ups so sad

They say it’s OK, but I know something’s bad.”

 

The Big sister listened and squeezed her hand tight,

And she thought of how she could make all of this right.

For she was scared too and it all felt disastrous,

She missed all her friends and her teacher and classes. 

 

But she closed her eyes tight and for answers she longed,

To share with her sister and make them feel strong

And just as she was going to say “I don’t know”

A voice on the wind whispered into her soul.

 

It tickled her ears and it kissed her cold face

And suddenly everything fell into place.

She turned to her sister, she pushed back her hair,

And started to speak words she magically heard…

 

“The world has gone funny, and everything’s changed

But it won’t last forever, it’s only a phase.

We’ve gone from being busy and rushing and spinning

To not going anywhere, morning or evening.

 

Mammy and Daddy, who work all they’re able,

Are still working hard, from the one kitchen table.

And yes there’s a virus and yes, it is scary, 

But if we stay home and if everyone’s wary

 

We’ll hopefully stop it from getting too massive,

And the Doctors and heroes will manage to smash it.

So don’t you be worried, just know there are reasons

And this too will pass, it’s simply a season.

 

When all this is over, when all of this ends

We’ll get back to normal, We’ll play with our friends.

We’ll go back to our classes and have lots of fun, 

We’ll have parties and playdates and hug our loved ones. 

 

We just have to trust that the grown ups have got this,

And that they’ll do everything that they can to protect us.

Then Mammy’s voice called them with ”Girls, time to go!”

And they looked at each other, and they smiled in the know

 

That they would have lots of adventures together

On beaches, in sunshine, or in rainy weather.

They ran to their Daddy and called to their Mum

And as they were running, the clouds showed the sun.

 

For nature can comfort the fears that we’re feeling

And breezes keep whistling their secrets and healing;

And all of your worries will soon disappear

Like the wind on the faces of two little girls.

 

Maria Rushe 

March 2020 

T’was the Night Before Christmas…

moon-3021005__340

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the land,

The magic was starting and all was in hand.

The trees were lit up and the turkeys were prepped,

The dog was quite cozy by the tree where he slept.

The sugar-filled children were bouncing and reeling,

The reindeer dust sprinkled, the cookies still cooling.

They hoped for and wished that the Big Man would bring

The gifts that they’d ask for, to make their hearts sing.

They stared at the skies, with eyes that were bright

As the stars they were searching, for Santa’s sleigh lights.

The parents enjoyed the excitement and fun

But hoped they’d soon sleep.  There were jobs to be done.

Santa’s snacks were set out and the stories were read

As the children got tucked in and snuggled in bed.

With a sigh of relief and ten checks that they’re sleeping

Mammy opened the nice secret treats she’d been keeping.

They finished their jobs and left everything right

For the Big Man in red who would visit tonight.

And they danced in the kitchen, and with Bublé they’d sing

Excited themselves, for what morning would bring.

For the joy and excitement, the gifts and the hugs

For the fact they’re together and truly know love,

For their family and friends, far away and close by,

For the innocence and magic that can’t money can’t buy,

For the dinner and chocolates and all of the food,

For the laughter and smiles, for the contented mood,

That comes with the sunrise on each Christmas Day,

And they counted their blessings as they ended their day.

So, tired but happy, Mammy turned off the light,

“Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!”

(Maria Rushe 2017)

Wishing you a magical Christmas

This Mammy wants to wish all of my wonderful readers a truly magical and wonderful Christmas.  I hope Santa is good to you all and that you have everything you dream of.

The S-Mum xx