She is sweet. She is everything nice. She smells like lavender and marshmallows. Tonight, her tiny hands have grabbed my cheek and she’s giving me one of those open-mouthed, wet kisses. Yet this mom doesn’t care. She squirms as I hold her a moment longer and the tender hand against my cheek suddenly grips with all her might. Her tiny nails rip at my flesh, and she giggles with delight. A tiny grunt escapes her lips and a not-so-silent toot emerges from her backside. Lavender and marshmallow is no longer on my mind.
Having a kid seems to bring these polar opposites so frequently. How often I am filled with joy in one moment and the next I am clawing at the front door on a Sunday afternoon, begging for a moment of sanity. Dinner can be a tender family moment for my husband and I, our eyes lingering on one another, marveling at the sweet wonder who coos in her high chair. The next, I have tortellini in my hair and my husband is catching the plate before it goes topside onto the floor.
I work outside the home and sometimes it is a gift of God. Sometimes, it’s the curse of man. The time I get with my daughter is so scarce that I wonder how I can possibly enjoy every moment with her and still assert my “parental authority.” Will her memories of me be the morning rush of coffee spilling down her diaper bag? The evening NPR news and traffic jam? My clapping to keep her awake just a little bit longer?
How can I possible enjoy this season when it seems it is passing by faster than I can say “Hey Diddle Diddle”?
She grabs her dirty diaper, triumphantly holds it in the hair and smiles with those two big front teeth. I take a mental snapshot of her and grab the “toy” away. With defeat she throws her body onto the pillows. I can’t help but giggle at her momentary misery. As if the whole world was taken away from her. Yet a small toy that plays the same out-of-tune song over and over again quickly distracts her. I ask myself — why did I buy that thing?
What a ride.