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poetry

I acted.
In tiny, not quite black box theaters, for audiences of 5.
I cried, danced and slaved for passion and laughter and no money.
I found a cozy house with a small nursery and a big mortgage.
I quit acting.

I ran.
For miles, to lose the wedding dress weight, to feel strong.
I saved the world from breast cancer, diabetes and poverty, one 5K at a time.
I imagined I would run right through my pregnancy and come out skinny on the other side.
The baby disappeared.
I quit running.

I showered.
Every morning, with rich Aveda smells and time for shaving.
I wore my hair blown dry, down my back.
And scrutinized scrunchies for their value.
Today, I gave a bath with a Ducky washcloth
and hope I will have time to wash my hair before the end of the week.

Most nights, my monkey bean and I practice walking up and down our street
talking about the puppies and flowers, looking for lady bugs.
I follow her, tugging my tank over the baby fat.
Regretfully, my motivated younger-self would not recognize this person, this happiness.

I do not say happiness because this is my happily-ever-after poem.
I don't even believe that mommy myth.
I say this because, for this fleeting moment I have clarity.
The sense that everything has its time.
I have all the time I need to be the mom and the woman I dream of being.

end of essay
Malia Cole Portrait Malia was first published at the age of 12, in The Minneapolis StarTribune. She has only a vague memory of the story itself, but clearly remembers her teacher rewarding her with a Hershey's Special Dark block bar. She is now mommy to Aislin and wife to Bryan. She spends her days as an arts marketer and spends her favorite evenings taking baby ballroom classes with Miss AZ. | more essays by Malia
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