On Drool and Unconditional Love
I wish you could have seen me yesterday.
Standing in the corner of the kitchen cabinets – blue jeans and a white v-neck with a spray paint can decal on the front, hair that hasn’t been washed in days.
I’m holding an eight-week old baby in my left arm, calm, finally, because this is just one of those days that he doesn’t really want anything except to be held. (And I get that it’s a very real physical need for infants, and I mostly love it.) My right hand is trying to demolish three cloves of garlic with a serrated kitchen knife – because the dishes are already piling up again and I refuse to use more than one knife on a crockpot meal – and then transfer the remains via the horizontal blade of the knife into the crockpot.
I have curry powder on the front of my shirt. The baby has curry powder on his left sock.
I’m sniffling back tears – partly because the baby cried all the way through the grocery store and I’d forgotten the pacifier and I was in a rush to get into the office on time and didn’t buy chicken broth, and partly because I’d slaughtered an onion on that same cutting board with that same serrated knife – and trying to focus through bleary eyes.
And then my calm, quiet baby, who hasn’t eaten in an hour, spit up a warm little trickle down my bare arm.
“I’m sorry honey,” I exhaled.
I turned around and plopped him in the bouncy chair that lives on one corner of the kitchen table, and returned to opening cans. He cried and cried, and I apologized and apologized while I cranked open cans and scooped teaspoons of ginger. He caught sight of the monkey dangling above him and got quiet, mercifully, while I dumped and stacked and wiped and packed.
Nearly ready to walk out the door, I went back to him. Now the hard part. Transitioning a contented baby into a car seat. I approached the bouncy chair cautiously, feeling slimy and cheap for having dumped him – mentally erasing Mommy Points I may have earned that morning.
He saw me, turned toward me, and released the biggest, gaping smile as he met my eyes. My favorite forgiveness is my son’s forgetfulness. He’s a drool-y, squirmy model of unconditional love.
He didn’t cry in the car, but I did. We weren’t late to the office. Dinner was delicious.
I still need to shower.