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Not As It Seems -- A Poem

July 18, 2018



I parent my mother now

as she forgets to brush her teeth.

Our roles are reversed as I take car keys

away. Privileges revoked.

Scolding, I remind her



not to leave dishtowels on the stove

as one begins to


But then I remember what parenting

my children

was all about.

Raising them to be


To be safe.

To be kind.

To practice good hygiene.

And they grew up and



lessons learned,

even if I had to remind them time

and time again.

They remembered.


Parenting produced results and growth.


I do not parent my mother.

Our roles are not reversed.

For in telling her to wash her face,

or change her clothes

or put a napkin on her lap as soup

spills from her spoon,

I’m only preparing myself for


She will not grow out of this phase.

She will not grow up, like a child maneuvering


through toddlerhood and adolescence.

She will not understand that bullying

is not allowed.


As my mother, she continues to raise me

to be responsible.


To be kind.


It is she

who is the parent.

And I

will always be the daughter,




Always her little girl.


~ Hana Haatainen-Caye



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