growing up

rain on the driveway

sneakers pounding on pavement

bike tires skidding across the ground

fingers sticky from melted popsicles

hair drifting from the messy ponytail you tied it in

but you can’t fix it because your hands are painted blue

beaches and little pink bikinis with bows

sandcastles and seashells

and cool lemonade in a icy glass

flowers tied in a crown

daisies and dandelions

and they might be weeds but that’s okay

because they’re pretty

colors that explode in the air

fireworks that pop

candy that melts on your tongue

sword fights with sticks

and daring rescues on bicycle horses

the princess swooning over her knight

in shining armor

scraping your knees

crying, but it’s alright

because Mom’s there

and she makes everything better

hugs and kisses when the night grows dim

tucking you into bed with a song

“you are my sunshine

my only sunshine

you make me happy when skies are gray”

never have words so true been sung

cookies baking in the oven

the smell of Mom’s shampoo keeps you patient

because it smells like home

Dad kicking the ball around with your brothers

cheering at goals

laughing when you trip over the ball

he helps you up with a hug

and makes sure you’re alright

because that's what dads do

he reads your stories

pages upon pages of drafts upon drafts

grammar and spelling far from what it should be

but he tells you that they are the most beautiful things

he will ever read

library visits

books piled high

you’ll finish them in a week

escaping into your own world

why were you trying to escape

rain on the driveway

sweet strawberry juice dripping down your chin and

hitting the floor

jumping awkwardly from the diving board

and making sure Mom is watching

watch watch watch

take a video

you’ll never watch that video again

cute little bathing suits pair with your eyes

before people tell you to cover up

diving into the pool

before you think it’s too cold to go in

before you’d rather sit on a pool chair, trying your hardest to make your body look beautiful

it’s already so beautiful

why can’t you see that?

you were a kid

you didn’t know anything

and you liked it that way

now you’ve grown up

you’ve grown up and everything is crashing down

the memories are fading

Mom doesn’t sing you the song anymore

“you are my sunshine

my only sunshine”

how could you do this to me

how could you let me grow up

i don’t want to grow up

the pushes would rock you over a wood chip playground floor

and you were touching the clouds and you were soaring to the sun

so high in the sky that everything was magic

until they would come too hard, too fast

you would laugh because the harsh words of the pressure were just jokes back then

but now they’re real and the pushes aren’t pushes they’re shoves

your feet are dangling

as you sway on the swingset of your teenage years,

the swingest that took you away from your childhood

lurching perilously over a great abyss

the chains are creaking

your legs are shaking

it's only matter of time before

the weight on your shoulders

is just too heavy

and you crumble

you’re so tired

so so tired

and sick

you used to be happy

kite soaring up up up

in the breeze

the ice cream is all melted and icky

and the cone is crumbling in your palm

you’re running through the sprinklers

but the drops of water are mixing with salty tears

that slip down your cheeks

Mom calls you in for dinner

and you’ll never go back outside

to finish playing

i’m always tired

i never sleep i can’t sleep

not without the soothing melody

of a song i once knew

“you are my sunshine”

i can’t remember the rest of the lyrics anymore

my knees are skinned

and it feels like Mom’s not there anymore

she’s in the house

i can see her at the window

but no matter how much i cry

she just watches me

i want to stay where it’s as simple as

finding shapes in the clouds

and hot cocoa when it snows

daisies in my hair

and dandelion rings

and i know

i know they’re weeds

but i don’t care

because they’re




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