Places have their moments.

I found her to be a little careless and I was certain she hadn't taken consideration. Probably no real plan for herself or her kids. I was fairly shocked by her lackadaisical attitude toward her children's demeanor. There was little joy in her mothering. She seemed perpetually irritated and I assumed this was a permanent condition.

She even joked about her shortcomings and laughed in the face of those who seemed to be double timing in their efforts. But she never explained why.

This broad had had enough of shenanigans of all kinds and I mistook her cautiousness for apathy. Her soft center was impercievable given the fortress of hard knocks she'd built around herself. I assumed her contrarity was directed towards her children but I didn't even know everything was for the sake of them.

She became strength as necessary and learned to deflect outsider judgement while harboring them. But, safely inside and cocooned in her loving acceptance, there was no escaping her swift reproof. She would have them corrected and directed in spite of themselves. Even at the risk of their resentment. Even at the risk of bending to the point of breaking. And it didn't matter what was evident because it was only for the sake of them.

But how could I know? My own heart was still fresh and tender, affording a kinder, gentler nurture. Mine was as soft and new as my baby boy's skin.

As our hearts and skins collected the inevitable cuts and scrapes, wounds and scars formed in places I couldn't have imagined. Only as I begin to lose count of all that I couldn't kiss to Better did it occur to me to fashion a fortress of my own.

And I think of her often and wish I'd had ears to hear but I only saw beauty as soft and round and flawless while she spoke without conditions and kept her eyes on the prize.