In Between the Rain

Have I been good enough, Mother?
Oh how I miss the days when your skin was smooth, and bronzed
How your smile beamed when you saw my little face
Remember when you let me stay up late, way, way past bedtime
To watch scary movies curled up on the cozy couch, giggling in horror
Eating popcorn and pretend hiding under the covers
Safe and secure in your strong embrace
Oh, how I miss the days when I had to crook my neck way up to look at your face
Today, I tower and hover above your small, fragile frame
Have I been good enough, Mother?
When you let me play outside with the boys, and beat them at their stupid, army games
You taught me strength, and how not to be scared
You gave me courage in spades
Fearless, I was
I wonder were you ever afraid?
Placing my spoilt wants, silly desires and pipe dreams ahead of yours
Have I been good enough, Mother?
That I deserved my beautiful, eloquent God-given birth name
When I ached to run off, to take off and discover life
At too early an age to understand big words like prolific and egotistic
To comprehend what the world meant, what strangers were all about?
To carve out a space, a place, a home of my very own
Independent from the safety net of family barbecues, water pistol fights, and summertime rainbow sprinkles
To jump willingly under the sprinklers
My face was soft and sweet back then
Innocent and kind
In between the rain
Have I been good enough, Mother?
The strangers I would meet never calling me by my birth name
Only you
And your stoic hidden pain, discomfort, fear, pride and worry
Would use my birthright, proper name
In times of distress, joy or exasperation
Yes, I know
I understand
I exasperated your patience with my stubbornness
I could be cruel, selfish at times, my face no longer childlike
I had grown cold
In between the rain
The puddles became too deeply complicated to navigate
I fell short too many times
Soaking my sobbing, acrid broken heart
In disillusionment and despair
I loved you then, Mother
When I screamed and howled your name
The miles and miles separating us
Growing continents and dust storms evermore
Distant, though never apart
Have I been good enough, Mother?
When I married the wrong man who beat me down
Leaving bitterness, and resentment underfoot
Still, you watched and waited
Strong and steady for the both
Patient enough, praying enough and hoping enough
I would find my own way
Time would not be kind
To you, to me, to us
Yet there would always be a steady, solemn love and quiet grace
Blinding beauty on the sunny days and even under the downpours
Disease would creep in, stealing my father’s good nature
And saddening your face with age
The lines etching and crevicing deep
In between the rain
The mistakes of a lifetime read like tea leaves on your wistful cheeks
While my skin remained smooth, not yet fully broken
Have I been good enough, Mother?
When you sat beside my bedside and watched
As your precious, precocious
Daughter went insane
Drowning in trenches and invisible caverns of madness
Remembering less and less her own name
Her identity, stolen but not forgotten
Intertwined and familiar by the markings on your
Stunning, freckled face
Still waters and gyre currents cannot steal away true beauty
I see you buried beneath the layers and layers of family
Replaced now with a hurry-cane
And a frail, hunched over, less able gait
That makes me cringe with fear
The time passage closing
Between the rain
I will try to be patient, more patient
Then I have been
I will try hard, harder
Have I been good enough, Mother?
Kind enough?
Sincere enough?
Polite enough?
Rolling my eyes in frustration by your deafened ears
Repeated sentences, and failing eyesight
As closed captions scroll across the screen
Oh fuck, I have not
I have not
Good enough
I have been
Losing myself somewhere
In between the rain
The seasons came too fast, too furious, and too mean
Upon us
To be anything but
Your child
You, the giver of birth
The bearer of the light and dark that dances
Upon my soul
Inside your little girl’s heart lives joy and sorrow
She is all grown up
Always looking forwards and back
Asking one simple question
Have I been good enough, Mother?
Have I been half as good as you?
Have you lived a purposeful life, filled with love and admiration?
A life worth living
In between the rain
The seasons will bury us
I love my birth name, truly I do
The life you gave so freely
I will carry
In between the mudslides, the dew, the frost,
And the singularly, unique snowflakes
As we wait for the sun
The speckled sunbeams you so adore
I learned golden admiration from you
Have I been good enough, Mother?
I will not abandon you
Not now, not tomorrow
Not when it would be so easy
To walk away
Not when it counts
We’re made from the same together, tougher stock
In between the rain
You mother, have been so much more than good
You have been
My one and only regret
To not find you
In between the rain
When the seasons change
As the minutes tick-tock, deafening in my ear
I cannot stop the stupid clock
For, if I could
I would be good enough, Mother
To halt the rise and fall of time
To be happy inside and out
In between the rain and her teardrops

Photo Credit: Marcin Krawczyk Flickr via Compfight cc

  1. Elaine,

    Your intuitive powers and sensitivity always amaze me.
    Your mother was blessed to have you, and I’m sorry she endured tragedy and regret.
    Thank you for your interpretation, and I’m honored as always to know and learn from your amazing mind.

    XX Jackie

  2. Sherri,

    If we could only stop the clock. I would so wish I could give you a hug and tell you everything is going to be okay. But, I fear I would not be telling the truth. Hug your Mother now, and your child on this day before Mother’s Day. The season’s move so slow and too fast. <3

    And I will be sending you so much love and comfort.

    xx Jackie

  3. Jackie. You killed me with this. The tears are pouring down my face. I see the same in my Mother and I feel myself asking the same questions. If only I could stop the clock.

    Thank you for sharing this. Each piece you write feels like a bit of your soul is hidden between the lines.
    Maybe…between the rain?

    All my love xx

  4. I feel the dance of the Mother Archetype in your poem–between personal mother and goddess mother, between human and perfect. I saw my mom as perfect when I was young. My projection slowly crumbled over a long life, leaving a woman who had suffered and withstood losses with little support. A woman who was filled with regret and grief and choked emotions. Thank you for honoring Divine Mother, your mother, my mother, and all mothers with these powerful words..

  5. Dear Connie,

    If I could only give you the gift of more time with your mother, I most certainly would.
    I can only imagine the overwhelming pain, and joy you are feeling today.
    Placing you both under a healing bubble of white love and togetherness.
    Thank you for sharing your mom with me today… I will be praying for you both on her anniversary.

    love J

  6. No words, Jackie. But I’ll spew some anyway. I saw my mother and me in so many ways through your words, between the rain. She died one year ago today and I’m haunted by some memories and jubilant over others. Love to you. Thank you for speaking to mg soul today.


  7. Dori,

    Your mothers are so lucky and blessed to have you, your strength, loyalty and humor to help guide them through the final leg of their journey. I hate it, watching my own mother age, as I age too I realize how very fleeting time is, and much she has given up so that I could fly. Maybe we were supposed to be selfish when we could, and I’m so glad we lived colorful adventurous, and brave lives before the crazy. I can only imagine how that must have felt for your mom.

    You give me hope, and the strength to walk the walk rolling my eyes every step of the way.
    Cherish the card, because I believe that is how your beautiful Jacqueline has always felt.
    “Her beloved.”

    love and patience lol

  8. Mary,

    I’m so glad and sad too that you can relate to this poem. Watching our mothers age is perhaps one of the cruelest and courageous things we must do. The guilt of not being ‘good enough,’ no matter how solid the relationship (or not) has always been there for me and seems to be universal. I’m sure you have been a warm and kindhearted loving daughter, and mother.
    Thank you for your words, I’m grateful always for your insight and friendship.


  9. Jackie, I love all your writing, but this poem…this poem is just stunning. It’s so personal, and yet, I relate to so much of it, and feel so many of the same things about my relationship with my mom. You capture the mother-daughter relationship so perfectly. Beautiful.

  10. Oh, Jackie. Reading this my mind is filled with thoughts of my own mother. Both of them. They are now at this age, too, and deep down I fear I have disappointed my own in many ways, yet I see her face light up when she sees me now. I am her only link to the cruel world of aging. She, too, suffered the pain of my crazy, I never even thought of her in my selfish acts. She was never a perfect mother, but recently she sent me a card to “my beloved first born.” Oh, I still cry over it. I will be with her this last part of her journey, rolling my eyes at sentences repeated three times, driving 30 miles at 6:30 pm to look for her tv remote control, oh yes I will.

    Her beautiful name is Jacqueline.

    xoLove love lovexo

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