Before It's Too Late

My hair is going gray, and
My knees will soon give way.
I have a chronic illness
That I work to keep at bay.

The body’s showing wear and tear.
Many parts run sore.
I start the day with several pills
And end with several more.

The eyes no longer see too well.
Forward, the future’s not too clear.
Yet looking back into the past
They see things sharp, still near.

I have regrets for things I see, and
I know forgiveness isn’t free. But
How can I pay for all the wrongs
For which you still blame me?

You’re more than twice the age now
That I was the day you were born.
And yet you bear the burden still
Of a childhood you felt was torn.

In your heart you have a book filled
With snapshots saved for years.
Moments when I scarred you   
And filled your eyes with tears.

Oh, it’s not like all I hear are    
Accusations thrown my way.
But every now and then, there
Are things you're apt to say.

“I remember Christmas morning, so
Excited we thought we’d burst.
But you wouldn’t let us open gifts
Until we’d eaten breakfast first.”

This is but one time that I failed. Was it
Really all that bad? I question in my mind.
But the tone in which you say it says
I was a mother of the worst kind.

My seasons now pass quickly,
Autumn leaves are turning brown.
I wonder how much time is left
Before my clock winds down.

I know I wasn’t perfect.
But I did the best I could.
I hope some day you'll forgive me, and
Please, before I’m gone, if you would.


This is my offering for One Shot Wednesday.


  1. oh, i feel this patti...there are days i hope my boys forget and if not at least forgive...the clock is ticking...nice one shot!

  2. Wow...your poem captures the oft felt angst of being a parent. And none of us are perfect. I, too, did the best I could.

  3. My Dearest and I have brought up 7 kids, and whenever I feel like this, I ask: did I do the best I could?
    If the answer is genuinely yes, I couldn't have done more ... and neither could any other parent.

  4. Ah, old age. Effective work/word choices.

  5. that was a tight write Patti, i am sure your heart is as young and beautiful as your soul..:) we are as old as we feel..that i believe :)
    Excellent one shot :)

  6. ah, and for sure you did the best you could..that they certainly know by now..:)

  7. You write what all of us who are parents at some time feel. Love will out.

  8. I am sure perfection was as is now, all around
    Great one Patti
    Peace is felt here, despite those kinda regrets
    and hug

  9. its easier to blame those we love for unhappiness then ourselves.
    you are a prize a jewel and a true friend

    Thanks for the One Shot reality burst
    love from the moon

  10. Though not a parent I can relate, but as a child, one that has had horrible experiences with my parents I can tell you that we DO forgive though sometimes incapable of forgetting. Nice One Shot. Love and Light, Sender

  11. yes, most parents feel these way sometime or another...i can feel the joy and pain of parenting in this poem - we do the best we can - perfect we are not... we are only human too...bkm

  12. Brian: Thank you. Hold that thought throughout, and I'm sure there will be no blame, and no regrets.

    Janice: Even when we know we did our best, there is always that nagging little voice whispering, should have... shouldn't have.... I guess it's unavoidable.

    Anthony: 7 kids. Wow. You have my great admiration and respect.

    Steve: Something we all have to face. As a blogging friend said to me recently, it beats the alternative.

    Desert Rose: Thank you, sweet friend. As for them knowing by now, you would think so, wouldn't you?

  13. Maureen: Yes, it does, thank heavens.

    Dulce: Well, not perfect, that's for sure. But peace in the knowledge that we can only do our best.

    Leslie: Thank you, dear friend. I guess that's what they made shrinks for, huh?

    Lou: Oh, yes. Misery loves company. ;-)

    Sender: I'm so sorry you had horrible experiences with your parents. That's the one place children should never suffer ill.

  14. Wow, Patti, great write! I relate in so many ways: the chronic illness, the fading eyesight as my hindsight becomes sharper and more nostalgic each year, and the certain knowledge that for mothers there is no statute of limitations! Well written! Honest and brave. And I love the poignant ending.............

  15. I believe that we mothers on the most part do what we do with the very best of intentions.
    We are not Gods, we are not perfect and like every other human being on this earth we make mistakes...we are, after all.. human!
    I've been where you are in this poem many times as I am certain many other mothers have too.
    At times like this I ask myself these things :
    Did I love my children?
    Did I provide them with a safe, happy & supportive home?
    Did I give them a soft place to fall?
    And of course, the answer to all these questions was Yes, I did !! Which I am certain is also true for you.
    So in short, I think we all do the best we can.

  16. Oh Patti! The poem is just so lovely, almost something which each one of us here commenting can identify with.
    Very nice...

  17. I liked your take on parenting and believe we need to hold great compassion for ourselves. I'm reading a book right now that explores this whole theme in a poignant, truthful, sometimes humorous way: "Olive Kitteridge" by Elizabeth Strout. You'd enjoy this book (takes place in Maine) if this is what's on your heart.

  18. I needed to read this :)

    beautiful, poignant poem

  19. Very nice shot... I enjoyed reading it..

    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya
    Twitter: @VerseEveryDay
    Blog: http://shadowdancingwithmind.blogspot.com

  20. Patti....?
    Thanks for sharing something so heartfelt....G

  21. Oh....this is heartbreaking! ;_; Thanks so much for sharing. It's a wonderful piece!

  22. Heartfelt sadness...made me feel a pang of hurt, for all you parents, grandparents, and all, who have these worries, feel these pains. Great One Shot.

  23. Forgiveness. Yes, before the winter comes...

  24. Sherry: "no statute of limitations" - great way of putting it. Thank you for your kind words.

    Katherine: Thank you for your insightful and understanding comment. This seems a bit understated, but what comes to mind as a response is "Amen."

    Shail: Thank you. I appreciate your kind thoughts.

    Mary: Thanks for the recommendation. I'll check it out.

    Gabriela: Thank you for the kind comment, Gabriela. Your One Shot seemed to have a familiar theme. Years ago, when Transactional Analysis was the psychology-du-jour, there was a concept called collecting brown stamps. I think both of our poetic characters know all about that.

  25. Shashi: Thank you.

    G-Man: Awww... Hugs back at you. There's something about trying to write poetry that brings out the honestly.

    Nick: Thank you for that. I'm glad you visited.

    cianphelan: Thank you. Hold that thought. Your day will no doubt come in some form or another. It lies in wait for all of us.

    LL Barkat: Yes. Those of us who are still someone's "child" should remember that.

  26. oh patti - this really touched my heart..
    my three kids are 16, 18 and 19 now - and i've made so many mistakes - i couldn't count them - but i have someone who forgives me for free - even if i don't deserve it - even if i fail a thousand times..and that keeps me going...

  27. Patti...my heart it touched on more than one level at reading this. We parents are both blessed and cursed with our bittersweet memories. Thanks, my dear, for a wonderful poem.

  28. Claudia: I hear you, my friend. Thank you.

    Tracy: Yes, we are indeed blessed and cursed. I think it comes with the job description. Hope all is well with you.

  29. oh, the little things we say...

  30. so many other mothers
    have walked this path.
    Fathers too, I know
    our gifts we give
    the best while we live
    perfection isn't a choice we can show.

    your love is seen through your words
    the imperfections in life
    are what we remember and
    often hold most dear
    so go with heart clear
    to winter's stand

  31. O Gosh! This is so poignant.
    Don't worry, You were an excellent mother. You were only teaching them patience and good etiquette. It is called harsh love. But love it is.

    Children will realize it sooner or later. Only when they have their own children!

    And then they will miss even those moments, long after you are gone.And they will understand and ask YOUR forgiveness then!

    And you will forgive from above, I know.

    (((HUGS))) We love you!

  32. All we can do is our best and I'm sure you have.

  33. Davis: Oh, yes.

    kkrige: What a beautiful response. Thank you.

    Mona: I think you have nailed it. I have three kids. Two of the three have children. One of those has thanked me (as has his wife, which I find very endearing), and the other said, "I don't know why you didn't kill me." (LOL) It's the third, the one who has no children and never will (by choice) who still carries around a lot of blame. I guess that until you are there yourself, you just can't know how hard it is. Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness.

    KB: I think so. I just wish he did too. Oh well. Thanks for coming.

  34. I thought I made a mistake once but I was mistaken!

    Two girls all grown up and I thought I'd stuffed up...Nope.....they are still on the straight and narrow.........
    Kinda made me smile .........

  35. I remember and know the mistakes I made- but I do not remember the mistakes my mother might have made.............good post!

  36. Sometimes I swear children were put on this earth to plague us. They have this unerring ability to strike where it will hurt most.

  37. Whitesnake: Girls are tough, no question about it. My hat's off to you.

    kathew: And that's as it should be, I think.

    Alice: You may have something there. It's probably some sort of demonic "Pay It Forward" thing.

  38. i felt that very closely...as a son to my father and as a parent to my children...lovely write..cheers pete


Thoughts? I would love to hear from you.