Judgment Days: Parental Pandemicostal Prayer. {poetry}


Oh come all ye parentals, fearful and trepidatious, to join together in prayer…

Dear _______,
[fill in the blank with personal choice of: deity/ies, non-deity/ies, philosophy, value,
Karma, rosary rounds, mala rotations, prayer wheel spins, lucky charm,
Higher Self, belief system, magic(k), pixie dust, salt over the left shoulder,
woo, mojo, bet hedging, crossed fingers, etc.]

Grant me sanity as I accept the things that have changed, the courage
to change with them, and the wisdom to grow through the difference.

Forgive me my — ahem — less than stellar parenting (and, while we’re at it,
adulting) under duress during these times of no right answers, just least bad choices.

Bestow upon me the solace of being seen through eyes of grace by other parents
striving to make their least bad choices, by my children recalling this impossible time
in future years, and by my relentless and unswerving harshest critic. (That would be me,
though the competition is exceptionally fierce lately.)

Have mercy upon us all as we move through this endless string of judgment days:
judge, be judged, judge the judgment, judge the judges,
lather, rinse, repeat repeat refuckinpeat ad nauseum.

Comfort us with the remembrance that judgment itself is an inherent part
of survival, a safety-seeking mechanism, a natural and adaptive response
when our very survival is threatened. Guide us as we seek to elevate our responses
from judgment into discernment during these times that try parents’ souls.
Judgment is the tired counterpart of weary souls. We are weary. Lift our hearts.
Fortify us. (The near daily doses of Smirnoff and biweekly Zoom “happifying hours”
helped… until day-drinking lost its luster by becoming commonplace
rather than like a big cosmic middle finger. Spot me the rest of the way, please.)

In these times of strife when we seem unable to come together for anydamnthing else,
let us unite in the wish that our children need not endure another global pandemic again
in their lifetimes. They have paid their dues plus the dues for our least bad choices
through more than a yearlong challenge that not one of us has experienced before.
After all, ‘Parenting in Pandemics’ is not a chapter to be found in any of the
(mostly unread) parenting books on our shelves. Or on the shelves
of any bookstore, library, etc. We’re all just winging it down here.
Every single one of us.

On a personal note, if I could be granted a little leeway here, I promise
to take the good chocolate out from behind the hoodies on the high shelf
to share with my family. (Don’t worry. Not the medicinal edibles. Obviously.)
Speaking of my closet, I commit to leveling up on the fashion front. No more
yoga pants for dress up, sweats for pick up, and jammies for just gettin’ up.
My new rule: if I wouldn’t have worn it outside two years ago, I won’t wear it outside now.
And I swear that my family will eat more vegetables. (Even kale.
Hell, I’ll even try Brussels sprouts again.)

Since I have your attention, I ask that you pour out your mercy plentifully upon
my fellow pandemic parents. I don’t know that any of us have made it through
this Covidian desert without a tsunami of tears. Rain your grace upon us all.
Surely, I cannot be the only one who needs it.

Amen, amen, blessed be, PLEASE and amen again!


Tracy Rose Stamper dances with words. Her middle name is the most significant word she has written lately during these days asking us to rise. She lives in a home on a hill in St. Louis with two beloved humans, two rescue beagle boys, and two whimsical wind sculptures. You can find wildflower seeds in her floral purse and rose quartz in her pocket because she believes in beauty — finding it, creating it, recognizing it, relishing it, being it, breathing it. She prefers lunar to linear and kindness over niceness. The page is where she feels, heals, explores, expresses, dares, loves, cajoles, creates, craves, hides, seeks, plays, dreams, and becomes. Tracy is a contributing author of Anna Linder’s The Book of Emotions, and has had work appear in Rebelle Society, Drunk Monkeys, Dime Show Review, Feels, and borrowed solace, among others. You can find her dancing with words on Facebook.


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