A Burden I’ll Gladly Bear

I could reach into my bag
And rustle up
Something good:

My teen guy,
Shambling into the kitchen
For one of those
Rare and
Extended chats about
Out of nowhere
That reminds me how
Teen parenting
Is a lot like being on call


A video chat
With sweet kiddos
Who need help with
But really need
Time to connect
About udon noodles
Or stuffies
Or ways to hide salmon in mashed potatoes

Reach my hand around in there
And I can also probably pull out

A walk in sunshine
With the dog who
Won’t leave my side
Except to sniff

This sack full,
This burden
I will gladly shoulder.

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17 Responses to “A Burden I’ll Gladly Bear”

  1. arjeha Says:

    Everyone should have a bag like this.My bag would include a cat helping me fold warm clothes pulled from the dryer.

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Yes! I’m guessing that’s “help” as only a cat can. And…clothes warm from the dryer? deLIGHTful.

  2. Melanie Meehan Says:

    There are some burdens that are easier to shoulder these days. The teens are tricky. The dogs are delightful. And the students need connections. Love the rhythm of your poem.

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Thank you so much. I was grateful for the time I was able to spend with them (and perhaps their parents, working from home and managing siblings) might have been as well =)

  3. theapplesinmyorchard Says:

    Beautiful! Love the spontaneous conversations that have arisen in our house too! My 25 yo has been home for 3 weeks! Longer than any time since he left for college. We had a discussion at lunch about environmental sociology issues in which he just finished talking about in his (now) online class. A moment to cherish.

  4. jaclynfre Says:

    The tightness in the throat that is triggered by reconnection with students as their confusion burst into joy feels like the highest stakes “lost and found” experience. This poem reminds me of a previous poem you posted when you capture another aspect of being the mom of a teen. That one involved a pizza box. I thoroughly enjoy these dispatches from your quarantine home. 🙂

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Yes, it absolutely is. And one of my kids – well, today we went through a really difficult conversation and came out of it with both of us stronger, with both of us feeling more solid in our belief that we were on the right track. And to have that same conversation meander into the finer points of soft-boiled eggs and the like – well, that’s just what I love about connections to students.

      And now I remember that pizza box entry. Which makes me smile because I cooked two batches of baked goods in a completely messy kitchen tonight rather than do the chore we had asked that same teen to complete. Always a chess game… =)

  5. Fran Haley Says:

    These few words are, to me, slices upon slices upon slices of life. Yes … if that teenager wants to talk, by all things holy – be there. “On call” is a perfect description. Your stringing together “Organizationmanagementfollowthrough” is just the size of it, what the students need help with, in equal measure and at the same time. The dog-! Love it. I love how you can reach in your sack and pull out good things, Lainie, as needed – and that you share them with us because we need them, too, along with your own brand of sunshine.

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Thank you! What I loved about today was having more things to choose from than made sense to include in my poem.

      Because having days like this…well, they’re good to save up for those other days where my bag is full of different sorts of burdens.

  6. mschiubookawrites Says:

    Just wowed by this magic bag of a post, from being on call for your teen to the walk in sunshine. I was right there rifling that sack with you. Awesome imagery!

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Well, thank you! That’s one thing I love about writing, is when words surprise us in different ways. =)

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