It takes the last swallows in a glass of crusty, backwashed milk to clue me in on how much I love my kids. I stand with a cup of black coffee in hand and peer into the recesses of the fridge. It’s a futile stare because I know I used the last of the milk yesterday, but I’m a girl who loves her coffee creamy. So. When I spy the glass of milk, straw-speared, behind the butter, the debate is on. Little Friend drank most of this milk at dinner two nights ago. I consider half a moment, grab it, and yes, dump it in my coffee. Good to go.
At least in these early years of childhood, the personal space lines between mother and child seem fuzzy at best to me. When Little Friend begs to have a sleep over with me when Big Friend is away on a business trip and her insubstantial body is tucked next to mine and her hand snakes toward me in her sleep, fluttering a small hand on my arm, I let it rest there. Over the minutes, her hand warms against my skin, and then a few more moments and its touch absorbs into me so that I can no longer tell where I stop and she begins.
It’s not just physical barriers that relax in the early years. Mental lines get tangled, too. Little One has learned to communicate with everything but words. I am her translator. I read her eye squints and blurted “Blehs” and know as if the thought had been formed in my own head that she’s frustrated because she can’t get the cap off of the marker. It’s not just the words that drop unbidden into my mind, it’s the actual feeling. It’s my hands that twist in frustrated mimicry of her complaint.
It takes the last dregs of the milk to make me take stock of the blurred boundaries that surround me. I’m a bit disgusted. I’m a bit claustrophobic. But mostly, I’m awed at the transformation and transparency that is motherhood.
Backwash and germs. Wee paws of hands. A language that flows between eyes. These are the things mothers and children are made of. We love these little critters to the moon and back, and given the choice of sharing a bit of backwash in the morning, yes, by golly, we’ll go with their backwash any day.
This post is inspired by Lisa Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday writing prompt, Last.