We had a weekend at my in-law’s big, old- fashioned house. Mrs. Brother Jack’s father turned 70. It was great to celebrate his life. He has had a tremendous impact on who I am. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves and it was nice to have a party for him.
All five members of my immediate family spent the night in the room that had been my wife’s childhood bedroom. We were crammed foot to jowl, listening to Grandpa snore in the next room. Mrs. Brother Jack woke up at 3:00 AM to get an extra blanket because she was cold. An hour later my baby girl woke me up to ask if it was morning yet. At 5:00 the boy got up to pee. By 6:00 I found myself in incredible discomfort. I should have gone to the toilet any of the many other times that we were awake. I was laying in bed and afraid to move. Sleep had been so scarce. I could not allow myself to be responsible for disturbing the peace. If I got up to pee, everybody would be awake and grumpy and it would be my fault. So I laid as still as possible trying to not think about the pain radiating from my bladder. If I had only gotten up any of the other times…
I wouldn’t have written a poem. I composed a three verse poem framed around the Lord’s Prayer while I was striving to be as still as the dead. I don’t write much poetry. It was equally surprising that I was able to remember the entire poem after we all woke up. When the official morning finally arrived, I scrambled for a pencil. After I used the toilet of course.
(In case you were curious, I was successful. I did not wake everyone up. It was my baby girl at 7:03.)
Read the poem.