Tennis Shoes

by Laurie
(Yakima, Washington)

I want to be one of those moms in tennis shoes.

Pony-tailed hair, Nike workout pants, baseball cap.
The mom that is ready to take the world on.
Conquer the mysterious monster of a disease.
Find a cure.
Save her child.
You know, those moms that make Autism almost fashionable.

I want to return therapists phone calls.
Make her use utensils every time she eats.
I want to follow up with insurance.
Stretch her legs to help with toe walking.
I want to make her gesture with every question.
Be her at-home therapist.
Super Mom to the rescue!

I want people to say, “Oh, you are so strong!”
I want to be her hero.
Do it all.
Work, be a mother, scientist and advocate.

I want my baby to be the one to prove statistics wrong.
Talk. Look me in the eye.
Care about the Easter Bunny. Open her birthday presents.
Play with her brother.
Feel food on her face.
Potty Train.
I want it to make sense!

Instead, I age more than I should, bags under my eyes, weight gain.
I am an older, sadder version of my former self.
Sometimes I curl up on the couch and want the world to
leave me alone.

But I know my baby needs me.
I love her more than myself.
I have proven myself a phoenix before.

God help me be more than I am.
Help me find my tennis shoes.

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