Things You Didn’t Put On Your Resumé
How often you got up in the middle of the night
when one of your children had a bad dream,
and sometimes you woke because you thought
you heard a cry but they were all sleeping,
so you stood in the moonlight just listening
to their breathing, and you didn’t mention
that you were an expert at putting toothpaste
on tiny toothbrushes and bending down to wiggle
the toothbrush ten times on each tooth while
you sang the words to songs from Annie, and
who would suspect that you know the fingerings
to the songs in the first four books of the Suzuki
Violin Method and that you can do the voices
of Pooh and Piglet especially well, though
your absolute favorite thing to read out loud is
Bedtime for Frances and that you picked
up your way of reading it from Glynnis Johns,
and it is, now that you think of it, rather impressive
that you read all of Narnia and all of the Ring Trilogy
(and others too many to mention here) to them
before they went to bed and on way out to
Yellowstone, which is another thing you don’t put
on the resumé: how you took them to the ocean
and the mountains and brought them safely home.
“This is one of those poems that people often mention after I include it in a reading, because everyone (especially the women in the audience) knows that most of the things they’re really proud of having done are not the ones that end up on a business or academic resume,” Sutphen said when we asked about its origins. “It’s also fun to compare lists of things we read to our children.
“I don’t remember exactly what prompted the poem, but it’s one of those poems powered by thinking of the subject in general and then jotting down the title and plunging on with the list. I have a number of poems that happened that way: ‘What to Pack,’ ‘How to Listen,’ and ‘How You Learn’ are a few examples.”
What would you put on your mother’s resume? What might your children someday put on yours?
“Things You Didn’t Put on Your Resume” is reprinted with permission of the author. It first appeared on The Writer’s Almanac.