“M” is for Mother
Author: Adena DeMonte
Today walking to my moms-adjusting-to-the-world-of-being-moms-poorly-but-no-doubt-entertainingly group at Kaiser (*not its official name) I stopped, half awake, at the quaint outdoor cafe on campus for some iced tea and, as I sipped the hipster pear honey soda I bought instead, noticed this California-perfect brunette (the kind that likely does yoga in her sleep, the kind whose thighs are in circumstance smaller than one of my arms, the kind whose effortlessly silky hair is right out of a Pantene ad) and, as she was practically levitating on cloud of the opposite of the apocalyptic nail-encrusted smog seeping around my own feet, and as she was having some random conversation in line with a stranger with such confidence and an air of satisfaction with all things in life, and as I was eating that oatmeal honey bar I purchased, and scarfed down in seconds, despite committing for the nth day in a row that TODAY I start my low carb, get back to pre pregnancy weight diet and see what art my stomach creates out of shrinking loose flesh and an abundance of jagged purple stretch marks, I thought, man, I’ll never be anything like that, but wouldn’t it be nice? Then, 15 min or so later I was waiting to cross at a crosswalk feeling flustered and out of nowhere said lady/angel/goddess “that looks like an M” — I didn’t realize it was her or that she was talking to me at first but she continued “m, for mother. (She points to a construction crane shaped like an m) — You’re doing a wonderful job. Thanks for bringing a new life into the world.” In the moment I turned to her to smile and say thank you, despite still committed to my belief that having a child in and of itself merits no praise, I heard either my soda or my phone, both balanced in my stroller’s cup holders, smash on the floor. It was my phone. I bent over, quickly confirming its cracks were preexisting conditions, and saw the dried river of white spit up all over my black cardigan — that spit up I thought I washed off well after my son won the Olympics of eating at our lactation appointment this morning (what? 5.7 oz? Over 4 from one side?) in any case, I blushed at the situation of said angel woman telling me I’m doing a good job, the fact that I was flailing and feeling like a failure in my running on no sleep hot mess of a moment, and thinking that despite feeling no justification for any praise merely for procreating, it was awful nice to hear such sweet words from my alter ego. I walked the rest of the way to my appointment with a little spring in my step, and a smile somewhere in my eyes as I noticed the blue sky for the first time in a while, and took a big breath in of the refreshing autumn air. I forgot how nice it was to allow myself to breathe.