adding time

So I decided tonight,
I really wouldn’t want to add up all the time
I’ve spent doing things for my girls.
Oh, I’m not thinking of the time spent
bathing them, once upon a time,
or the time I still spend making their breakfasts and lunches.
I’m certainly not thinking of the time spent reading to them
and playing games, the times we’re doing things together—
eating together, going places together.

No, walking to a neighbor and classmate’s house tonight
to get a copy of the homework sheet she forgot to pick up
to copy for her so she could do her math homework,
I specifically started thinking of such time
spent looking for her glasses and her shinguards and cleats,
for her library book due that day,
and that shirt that she absolutely had to wear—
all the times I’ve walked upstairs saying,
“Now if I see this right when I walk in your room—
or, if this is in the first place I look, I’m going to be rather frustrated!”
Thinking of how many times I’ve had to take her coat to the school
because she wouldn’t listen to me telling her she would need it,
or the lunch she left by the front door in her hurry
to get out to meet her friends at the corner.

No, I wouldn’t want to add up all that time,

unless—

unless it’s time invested
in those girls learning and knowing
that love is a commitment of time and energy,
that love is sometimes doing what you don’t want to do,
that love can be inconvenient.

I’m not going to add up that time,

but if that’s what they learn and know,
I’ll count it well worth however much it is.

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