My kid made me pay $20 for a poem

One of Xage’s paintings of our sweet Autumn

Okay, dear readers… it’s funny story time. I originally wrote this as a post on my blog’s Facebook page.

I pay for beautiful artwork by Z all the time, but this is the first time they ever conned me into paying for a poem.

This story may or may not end up being in my novel someday, but first I wanted to write it down before I forgot it!

A few days ago, Z mentioned they wrote a poem in school and that I would love it. I asked if I could read the poem, and they said they would bring it home.

Today, I remembered and asked “Hey, about that poem… can I read it now?” and Z right away said no.

When I asked why I couldn’t read it, Z said “Mom, I don’t want to see you cry, and I know it will make you cry.”

Well, now I REALLY wanted to read this poem. So, I optimistically said “I PROMISE I won’t cry.”

And Z replied, “Mom, it’s about Autumn [our dog who passed unexpectedly and tragically at the end of December]. So I KNOW you will cry.”

Now, I’m really determined… I gotta read this poem. So I said let’s make a bet… if I cry after reading your poem, you get $5. And Z is always up for making a quick buck, so they agreed and also shrewdly negotiated it up to $20.

So now if I cry, this is a stinking $20 poem! Knowing there’s a high likelihood this will happen, I made the bet contingent on me at least getting to keep the poem afterward, and Z agreed.

I literally bought this poem for $20, sight unseen, because we both know I’m going to bawl.

Z hands me a crumpled piece of paper (which even the teacher didn’t get to read, apparently – so no one has read it except Z).

I read the first two lines and my eyes well up. I’m fighting back tears hard. I don’t want to give Z the satisfaction of winning… or fork over $20!

I weakly smile at Z. They nod their head knowingly. And then I start laughing. It’s all so silly. I’m fighting back tears in my kitchen, and I’m also laughing HARD. And you know what happens when you laugh hard, friends? You cry.

So now I’m laughing even harder because the poem starts out sad and I’m sure gets even sadder… and I’m clearly going to be handing my kid $20 in a minute or two… and I’m laughing hysterically, crying maniacally, and my kid is just standing there looking at me, shaking their head like “OMG Mom you’re a mess, this is why I didn’t want you to read my darn poem.”

So I pull myself together, dry my eyes, drink some water, compose myself and then read the poem like an adult lady person with the best intentions of not crying.


Y’all, this poem is touching, sad, heart-rending, beautiful, and an extremely special outpouring of emotion and devotion in memory of our sweet angel Autumn. The words flow right to my heart and crack it wide open again, just like on the day we said goodbye to her.

Oh friends, I sobbed my heart out. It was cathartic – I felt great afterwards.

And then I gave my rotten, amazing writer of a kid $20. And they just smiled this wry little tween smile when they took it – like, I told you so.


About the author

Proud and loving midlife mama. Lucky and devoted wife. Dog, cat, snake and guinea pig mom. Travel nut. Writer since birth. PR and social media pro by day - tattoo doula by night.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial