When walking with a cute kiddo, and yes, I am that gross, disgusting, self-absorbed loony mom who thinks her kid is pretty cute and yummy, people who actually care say one of two things.
“Are you having another?”
“Enjoy it now because they grow up so fast!”
The first statement, as you all know, is one that curls my toes and crinkles my anus. I find asking anyone about their reproductive situation rude and insensitive and all around grotesque. There are a myriad of reasons why people choose to have one, two, three or eight children and it is nobody’s bag of shit to peak into and sniff.
Now, as far as the growing up fast comment, I usually smile and nod in apathetic agreement and make a weird joke and giggle and walk away. Why the joke and the banter, you ask? I love to talk and have been known to converse with a brick wall and a garbage pail if they’ll listen. So, talking will always be part of any equation I happen to write on the chalkboard. Back to the growing up fast part, I know.
I think about it in little bursts here and there and sure, I occasionally get misty. But that precipitation doesn’t last long. I’m too busy. There is too much to do. If I’m not writing or trying to write or pulling myself out of a hole of blackness because I didn’t have enough time to write I am doing a load of wash or cleaning the kitchen or making a grocery list or buying the grocery list or folding some dishtowels or replacing the toilet paper or mopping up a small puddle of errant urine that could have been left by one of three males in my house.
Yes, the cat is VERY old and VERY hung and any mystery piddle I find anywhere could be just as easily cat piddle as it is Otto piddle or Dave piddle. Men, your anatomy makes it a wonderment that you can stand up and urinate. We get it! But why, in God’s great land of agnostics, is there always a little left over on the floor or around the base of the porcelain pooper or on the ledge of the crapper? Clorox Wipes are bad for the environment and soaked in toxic chemicals but until you learn to shake it off properly and wipe the floor yourself, gentlemen, including cat and small child, I insist on at least buying the natural, earth-friendly wipes to assist me in my mission of extricating the pee-pee puddle from my life.
Stay on point, Dotty, I know. Growing up fast. I remember now.
Every time someone says the growing up fast stuff to me I catalogue it and stick it in my back pocket or in the basket of mail next to the door. My brain says I should really stop and think about the small moments while my body rushes forward like a giant wave racing to get ashore. All the things I need to do scream at me from all corners of my life. The dishes, for instance, will most certainly crumble and crack if I do not put them in the dishwasher. Isn’t that how it works? And the drawers cluttered with coupons and crayons and old rubber bands? They will procreate and multiple until I am buried under meaningless junk and found breathless and braless weeping behind the High Boy. Right?
But sometimes, when the world is too fast and the lists too long, a tiny, little pebble of calm and light is tossed into your lap. And when the pebble lands, grab it and enjoy it because it will happen less and less.
My little moment came yesterday, as unexpectedly as a double rainbow on a dark day. I picked Otto up from school and we drove to In-N-Out Burger simply because I have a bad cold and that cheeseburger is my packaged penicillin, Otto loves French fries and it was a Wednesday.
After an awesome big boy, booth hang, we drove home in a blissful, full-bellied quiet. About a mile from our apartment I looked in the rear view mirror and saw Otto fighting the good fight to keep his eyes open and his wits about him. This may sound normal to other parents out there whose kids sleep when they need to sleep. But my child, my wild kingdom cub, NEVER NAPS. He dropped that ball almost two years ago and has been awake and alert ever since.
Seeing this little man nodding off meant only one thing. His body was whipped and he needed this nap. By the time I pulled up in front of our door he was knocked out and snoring like a bear in a cave. If I carried him into the house he would wake up and run around in circles and I knew he needed rest like I needed nasal spray.
I sat in the car for the following hour and a half, writing an article I had due for the school newsletter and listening to the sounds of my son breathing and recharging. When he finally woke up he was sweaty and disoriented and not sharing the frosted, feel-good moment I was immersed in. I rubbed his leg and asked him how his nap was, thinking it would calm him and bring him back to a happy place.
But, no, he began crying and shaking as if the nap had slapped him in the face and stolen all his toys. I unbuckled him and lifted him onto my lap in the front seat, caressing his head and trying my best to calm him. When I thought he was ready to go inside the house, I looked down and he was passed out again, like a frat boy and a freshman kegger.
For the next hour, he lay in my arms as I gazed into his beautiful, breathtaking face. Sure, I read some of the new Entertainment Weekly I happened to have in my bag and, of course, I got excited when I stumbled upon the article about Charlie Sheen, the dregs of his drug-riddled debauchery and his love of all things porn-a-rific.
But, I have to say, holding Otto like a loaf of Challah filled me with a feeling of overwhelming peace and potential I haven’t felt in a long time. He was never a cuddler, never a lap-sleeper and has never sat still long enough for me to stare him down and make a map his face. He was and always has been, running a million miles an hour, just like his mom, never slowing down and never taking that extra second to drink it all in.
Just when I noticed my left arm cramp up, both legs fall asleep and my neck start to spasm, it happened. I was cradling an almost, four-year boy like a newborn and suddenly, all the voices of all the strangers who told me to enjoy the moment, chimed in all at once like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, in stereo, on 11. It was loud, it was high-pitched and I listened. And, it was awesome!
My little pebble turned out to be a big-ass boulder but I can’t wait for the next reflective moment to come barreling down the laundry shoot of my life. Oh, shit the laundry. I gotta go.