Conversation

It had been a rough day and Chinese was on our menu for dinner. After that BB and I had to drive the half hour to my parents’ house, then to the airport to pick up RB; he had been gone since Wednesday at conference in Albany and I felt guilty because, as excited as I knew he was going to be about it, I didn’t really care. RB had a retirement party to attend back in our neighborhood immediately following his pickup. Although he had said he wouldn’t go I insisted; it was an important networking opportunity. I was supposed to go glamping (glamorous camping, I was told) with some girlfriends, but my mother was unable to watch BB over night due to my father’s ailing health. I would miss one night but was planning on attending the next day. I did my best to not make her feel guilty about it.

We were rounding a traffic circle, finishing up a conversation about my father; I had told BB that his Papa was very sick (he was at the hospital for the third time in four weeks) and there was a chance he’d be going to see GG [my maternal Grandmother who passed away last year] soon. “Why Mommy?”

I told him that everyone goes to see GG at some point, but it’s okay because they can fly. I’m not a religious person and am still working out the kinks as far as talks about death. Even though he’s (almost) only three, I wanted to give him the heads up.

“Where’s my buddy Papa going?”

“Hopefully nowhere for a while.” I had been crying all day at work; my eyes were swollen and my head hurt. My mother was getting Hospice involved.

“Oh.” I glanced back at him; he was staring out his window, half paying attention, half already engaged in our next conversation. “Momy, look at that!” His still kind of chubby index finger pointed at the cemetery we were driving past.

“That’s like where GG lives. Can you say cemetery?”

“Cim-it-awy.”

“Good. Do you remember visiting GG?”

“GG is up on the mountain!” (She’s buried on top of a hill; I took BB to visit her for her birthday a couple weeks ago.)

“That’s right, baby.”

We kept driving, the flowers and headstones disappearing in my side mirror. “Mommy, that’s super awesome!”

I actually laughed out loud. He’d been saying that, super cool, and never ever for the past couple weeks; I’m still not sure who he got it from. Tom Petty played gently on the radio in the background.

“You know what, baby? You’re super awesome.”

“Mommy you’re super awesome!” As I turned onto the main street to get to the restaurant I beamed. Did he know what he was saying? Probably not. But it made me feel awesome for the first time that day.

“Aww, thanks baby. That was really kind of you to say.”

“You’re welcome.” I watched his sweet face in the rearview mirror as he continued to stare out his window and just take it all in.

The world is huge and there are so many wonderful things to see. I hope he never stops looking for them.

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The Fright

I heard it the first time while folding laundry; the little pair of pants fell lifelessly to the table onto the other folded items. Did I really hear that? I asked myself. No…

My blood ran cold, ice pushing through my veins, freezing my entire body, fingertips to toes and back up to my head, still struggling to comprehend what it had just heard. My arms remained outstretched, as if still waiting to be told to fold the phantom clothes.

The cats looked at me as if under duress; the three of us locked eyes and strained our ears again, refusing to believe what we had heard until it came again, carried down the stairs on a hellish whisper, breaking all semblance of what was, until now, a normal nap time:

“Mommeeeee….. I got poop on my finger!”

The cats scattered, and I can’t say that I blamed them. What in the actual fuck?

The Most Beautiful Thing

…is the sound of his voice.

“Mommeee, whatch doing?”

A handful of weeks after his second birthday he started talking, and it became clear very quickly that he was no longer my baby. The soft, shining cherub I bore suddenly burst into a little boy, complete with messy blond hair constantly in his face, gleaming eyes, a mischievous smile full of teeth, rough patches on his knees and legs constantly discolored with bumps, scrapes and dirt; these last two came paired with constant points of his little fingers and requests to make those same bruises and other imagined boo-boos disappear. His pants, snuggly clinging to his bountiful thighs and bulging belly mere months ago, have developed new shelf life as they sag and loosen from his disappearing frame. Words we thought were unknown to him began spilling from his tongue like water from an ancient fountain. Had they always been inside of him, skills and ideas and opinions quietly tucked away until one day everything just fell into place?

“Mommeee, whatch doing?”

Sing

I listened to the baby sing himself to sleep tonight for almost twenty minutes, his high pitched toddler voice blazing across the reliable static of the monitor still plugged into both of our walls. He was making up its own words to replace the ones he hasn’t memorized yet in “Take Me Out To the Ball Game”, one of his favorite songs.

His sweetness is unrelenting, his music gives my life meaning.

Morning Of the Toddler

7/31/17, 7:04am

Ok buddy, let’s get dressed. What would you like to wear today? (I pull out a blue striped shirt from his dresser as BB watches from his changing table, unimpressed.) Here’s a blue shirt you haven’t worn in a while, look no tag (he’s refusing to wear shirts with tags). You like blue — No, no blue.

You sure? It’s really nice. No blue.

Ooh, how about your bunny shirt? No bunny. But the bunny is blue! No blue.

Ok, how about your monster shirt? (I fake growl and he whimpers.) No monster!

Ok then, how about your red shirt? It’s red like a fire truck. Fire truck? Yes, fire truck. Fire truck? (BB physically inspects the t-shirt looking for a fire truck.)

Yes, wait – no, no. It’s red like a fire truck, not an actual fire truck. (BB stares blankly at me.) There’s no truck. He starts to sing: Hew-wo fire truck, fire truck hew-wo.

Whatever – yes, hello fire truck! So you want the red shirt? Yeah!

Ok, great! (I put the shirt on him, temporarily basking in the mild waves of accomplishment falling over me before I realize…) Wow… That shirt doesn’t match your cool football shorts whatsoever now (they were already picked out). Whatever, looking good bud!

(I stand him up on his changing table. BB bends over, picks up the the first blue shirt I suggested and holds it up to his legs, then looks at me.) Buddy that’s a shirt, you can’t wear it as pants. I want it.

No, I’m sorry buddy. You can’t wear two shirts, you can only wear one shirt. (I think of a time long, long ago in the early thousands when we did, in fact, wear two shirts at the same time. It was college, and it was a strange period in my life.) But I want it. (BB tries to put shirt on his head.)

Honey that’s not a hat, that’s a shirt. (BB stares blankly.) Do you want to wear the blue shirt? Yeah!

(I exhale a heavy sigh as he struggles to escape from the confines of the red, truckless shirt, and eagerly slip on the first fucking shirt he said no to ten minutes ago.)

Sunday Haiku

Husband took our son

To go grocery shopping:

I am left alone.

I look at the house

Destroyed by a tornado,

A brazen toddler. 

Elmo on TV 

Can’t find the fucking remote –

Need more coffee NOW.

Overcome by shock

I vow to do my best but

Write this poem instead. 

Mommy’s Sunday Blues

The baby’s finally passed right out

I hear gentle snores, no screams or pouts

The hubby’s gone for his own chores,

Do I dare sit or work some more?

Third load of laundry being done

The first two for my only son

Three more upstairs in our room to do

Why is this place always a zoo?

Folding, vacuuming, how do I pick?

Everyone in this house is sick

For the third time in as many weeks

That couch will only lead to sleep

Kitchen’s started, some germs are killed

Crackers on the floor, the cat food spilled

My opportunity is fading fast

This quiet time, it will not last

Soon the baby will be up

My husband, through the door he’ll strut

With his wet shoes throughout the house

With bleach everything must still be doused 

Love is patient, gentle, kind

But I’m about to lose my mind

My nose is running, it will not stop

Dishes, sweeping, I still must mop

The bathroom, God, it’s such a mess

I start to panic, I’m in distress!

The dining room table cannot be seen

I feel like I’m about to scream!

I haven’t showered in two days

But it was more important to just play

With the baby, there’s not much time

Soon he’ll be grown, I won’t be fine

Time is fleeting, they all say, 

I must grab hold and seize the day

But time for me is important too

How can I when there’s so much to do?

Less than an hour, the baby’s up 

Today I just don’t have much luck

Back to work tomorrow we go

On weekends I don’t have much to show

They speed by faster than I can believe

Perhaps next weekend I’ll get reprieve 

Next thing I know I start to snooze

Welcome to Mommy’s Sunday blues

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