I am from Sunburns and Malted Milk Ice Cream

I am from particle board furniture and 70’s decor,
with brown shag carpet and bright gold wallpaper.
I am from pink bedroom walls and a hammock full of toys,
stuff with Barbies and Care Bears.
I am from rooms full of sunshine and TV noise.
I am from happiness and love.
I am from gorgeous mountain views and constant home construction,
with dirt, and grasshoppers, and prickly weeds.
I am from nosy neighbors, who offer fresh vegetables and fruit,
in the summer and fall.
I am from a street with forty young children,
who all moved away.
I am from trips to Florida in the summer time,
to visit grandma in her condo on the beach.
I am from sunburns and malted milk ice cream,
beaches with sand like baby powder.
I am from warmth, freckles, and salty water,
and the feeling of waves rocking you to sleep.
I am from sharing my toys with my younger brother,
and stealing my older sister’s clothes.
I am from Hamburger Helper and Crescent rolls,
for dinner most every night.
I am from best friends who are silly together,
and make each other laugh until belly’s ache.
I am from piano lessons and library trips every Saturday,
with trips to the mall with Mom for a hot dog on-a-stick.
I am from pizza every Friday night and gourmet breakfasts,
every Sunday morning.
I am from my Dad’s homemade potato soup,
that warms our cold bodies in the winter.
I am from Christmases with fake Christmas trees,
and kleiner dough to look forward to.
I am from Christmas mornings eating aebleskivers,
with powdered sugar and cool glasses of milk.
I am from Christmas dinners at Grandma’s house,
with Danish banquet soup and pumpernickel bread.
I am from first jobs in frozen yogurt shops swirling cool, sweet cream,
with fruit stains on my clothes from making smoothies.
I am from clothes bought in thrift stores,
for fun not necessity.
I am from driving my parent’s mini-van until I was 19,
We named it Bessie.
I am from falling in love with Casey,
who is kind, handsome, and strong.
I am from a big wedding, with a big dress and a big cake,
with Uncle Frank driving everyone crazy taking pictures.
I am from giving birth twice, to a girl and a boy,
and a house filled with toys, laughter, and Cheerios.
I am from a mother who died of pancreatic cancer,
leaving a wake of grief behind her.
I am from giving birth the third time without her,
yet feeling her Spirit present.
I am from being a motherless daughter,
and trying to mother without her.
I am from a broken heart trying to heal,
in her pained absence.

I am from going back to college at 27,
to earn my degree and my self-respect.
I am from working in Adoption,
the miracles and the heartaches.
I am from watching people become parents for the first time,
because someone made the most selfless choice possible.

I am from trying to move forward,
because everyone else is.
I am from building a house,
our dream and our life savings invested.
I am from trying to give my children a safer place,
to just be children.
I am from a happy family,
and I have created a happy family now.
I wrote this poem for my Issues in Diversity class back in January 2006. The last few paragraphs written in purple have been written since I turned in this poem for my class. Because my life has changed significantly since then. My blogger friend wrote a poem on her website, an insight to her 35 years on earth. She challenged her readers to do the same.
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6 thoughts on “I am from Sunburns and Malted Milk Ice Cream

  1. Thanks, mfranti!I took a poetry writing class for my Minor (English, obviously), but my professor told me I stunk at it. Apparently I'm not insightful or nuanced enough for his taste. So I write poetry when the mood strikes and it doesn't strike often. This one was written as a writing assignment. I came across it again when we moved and your poem made me think of it. Maybe I'll add a few stanzas every now and then as my life changes and evolves. I'm more of an essay writer than poet.

  2. I love it! I even remember a lot of it! Those were good days! I remember Malted Milk Ice Cream!!!!! Good times! Thank you for sharing. Tell that poetry teacher to stick it, you are a wonderful poet. Remember when I wanted to be a poet? I don't think I have written a poem since high school (unless there was a college assignment I have forgotten about). I should find those, I know they are on my old bernouli drive, I ought to have copies somewhere else. Thank you for the trip down memory lane! I am glad we have so many happy memories together!

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