The shoulds, 1989

1989 photo0001

Mommy promised

she would tell me and Sister first

if she ever got married again.

But I heard her on the phone

talking low and excited with her friend.

I listened around the corner

then I pushed my hurt down.

I wasn’t surprised

when he proposed to her

in front of us on pizza night, and I ate

two more pieces of deep dish supreme than usual.

Later that night Mommy gushed

as we got ready for bed.

She said they’ve waited two years

for our sake, so I guess

if it wasn’t for us

they would have married right away?

And she said that we should

be so grateful

a never-married bachelor

will take on a household

with two almost-teenaged girls.

I guess any other man

would be crazy to take us on.

She said we should

be so happy

he’s willing to move in with us

instead of moving us to his house.

So we can stay in our school

and still see our friends.

Maybe that’s a good point

though his house is smaller.

With starry eyes

she told us we should

be so humbled

because his family accepts us,

but I know we will have yet another

celebration to squeeze in at the holidays.

Mommy wasn’t the only one with the shoulds.

He told us we should

be so thankful

our mom loves us so much

that we should

appreciate everything she does for us.

I already do!  Who are you

to tell me anything about my Mommy?

Now the shoulds I hear most often

from both of them

is I should

not spend so much time alone.

I should

cheerfully join them for dinner

instead of sulking.

If I hear one more should

I just might let a scream loose.

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