Full Hands

“Mama, Mama, Mama,” he wails. My head hurts and I resent my irritation at my crying child. “Mama, mama,” he hollers, fresh green mucous sliding from his nose and crusted around his nostrils. I grab another tissue and wipe his nose. He screams and headbutts my chest. Cold season is killing me. Sickness for months on end, my arms cannot stretch wide enough to hold all the needy bodies around me.

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“I WANT MY MAMA BACK!” My two-year-old screamed after her baby brother arrived. She reached for me as I bounced her colicky brother in my arms. “I WANT MY MAMA BACK!” Helpless, I stroked her wispy blonde hair with my hand while rhythmically bouncing the crying newborn, tears filling our eyes.

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Ground hogs day, colic ended but this winter the tears returned, teething, a runny nose, and a new bout of separation anxiety. “Mama, Mama,” he shrieks as I place him on the kitchen floor and swipe peanut butter across bread. I dip the knife in the jelly and grimace at the remnant of peanut butter in the jelly jar. “Mama, mama,” his arms stretch up to my robe pulling it and me apart.

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Please read the rest of this essay over on Mamalode.