Today I’m harking back to my college days again, since I’m still sorting through boxes of textbooks. Just stumbled upon a poem by Robert Hayden that frequently springs to mind. It truly captures the vast divide between childish vs adult thinking.
If you’re anything like I was as a teen, you think you know what kind of parent you’ll be. You might be determined to buy only name-brand cereal and not generic (didn’t happen). You might think you’ll let your kids pick up all the stray dogs on the side of the road (also didn’t happen). You might think you’ll never have to spank (definitely didn’t happen).
The truth is, we have no idea what our parents have gone through by the time we arrive on the scene. We have no idea what kind of sacrifices they have to make for us. Later on, we might realize what a hard time we gave our parents (raising my own hand here).
This poem is a beautiful tribute to sacrificial parents everywhere. I’ll italicize my favorite lines at the end.
Those Winter Sundays
by: Robert Hayden
Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,
Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?
****What about you? Anything you did differently than you’d planned, once you grew up, got married, or became a parent?****