Through the Eyes of a Child


In light of Mother’s Day yesterday, Marti and I recalled this wonderful poem by Beverly Cunningham, who was without a home at the time we first met her and living at the Isaiah House for Women in Santa Ana, California. It’s a poem that beautifully captures what I shared in our Facebook church message last night — that our mothers are not perfect, but love can win out if we learn to forgive. This is a beautiful poem from a mother’s point of view about how her adult child has forgiven her, and how much that means to her.

The assignment from church was to sit down and write your mom a letter. Might be a good idea for all of us. And write us if you’d like, and let us know how that experience went. Were you able to love her, forgive her even though she may have screwed up your life, and then tell her she’s the best mother in the world because she’s your mother and she gave you life?

Through the Eyes of a Child

by Beverly Cunningham

I called up a woman

It was time to reconcile

About the memories of abuse

The woman was my adult child

When she answered the phone

It was then I realized

I needed to say this in person

I needed to look into her eyes

Upon my request she came

With her radiant smile

And my apology began

For abusing her as a child

For no reason other than

Her just having breasts

Hitting and pushing her around

It was me hating myself

Her running to me — my neck

Her arms around

Then my anger unleashing itself

As I shoved her to the ground

Beautiful brown eyes

Such an angel face

I purged from her tears

Yes tears, taking laughter’s place

By the time I had finished

I was sobbing on my knees

She said, “Mom, please get up.

Now this is what I see:

Not a bad mom

Because early on God was summoned

No, Mom, not just an excuse

You were just an imperfect woman

Now let me look back

To my memories for a while

Let’s find those hidden treasures

Through the eyes of a child”

(And she said,)

“I remember all those things

The bitterness — the shouts

But there are those other things, Mom

That self-hatred left out

A baby in the walker

A guard rail for the stairs

The singing of ‘He walks with me”

While I coo in the high chair

The spontaneous ‘pick-me-ups’

The gentle parting of my hair

Swinging me around and around

Doing helicopters in the air

Alfie’s playing our song

My homemade Halloween cape

Days of serials and recalled carseats

Dual-sided cassette tapes

Dancing on your feet

Barbie oven

Lightbulb to cook

Or just tickling me all over

And reading ‘Little Golden Books’

I remember kindergarten

First time leaving my sight

Your hands clinging to the chain link fence

And tears streaming from your eyes

I rushed across the playground

And back in your eyes came the light

And I said, ‘Mommy, don’t worry

I’ve got new friends; I’ll be alright

Now I’m 39 years old, Mom

I’ve got one son, and two girls

They say I’m a great mom

‘Cause I had the best mom in the world

Click here to see an interview with Beverly, and a video of her reading this poem.

About Beverly

Beverly was brought up in the “Projects” in Santa Ana with 5 brothers, all older.

Beverly believes her mother rejected her because she was not beautiful like her. She developed humor to find a place under the sun. She has been abandoned, placed in foster care, and then returned to her mom; been raped; caught in a drunken rage resulting in 3 broken ribs and an arm plus a black eye; lived in a car; heavily involved with drugs. While never married, she has 3 children (2 girls and a boy). She beat the oldest girl constantly and for everything. One of the daughters is a bipolar victim. Beverly is always pleased when she learns that she is in prison because (1) She knows where she is, and (2) She is on her medication. Her son is in penitentiary far away and has been for some time.

Her story is real.

But Beverly’s life with the Lord is even more real.

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3 Responses to Through the Eyes of a Child

  1. Mark Seguin says:

    Great Catch. God’s speed & many blessings to Beverly & her children. ❤

  2. even if you read this, you need to go watch the video also. Thank you for sharing. So many folks sitting in this same situation today…

  3. TimC in Oregon says:

    Incredible! Thanks for sharing!

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