Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Stains, A Record of My Day

There is a constant stentch of breast milk on my left shoulder. I hardly notice this anymore. Infact, it almost smells good to me, it is my third time doing this baby thing. Still, it is annoying, always having some sort of stain on your clothes. I pretty much stick to t-shirts from Target, in hopes that one day I can buy a blouse with style.

At our small group tonight, my youngest did a projectile move, not an ounce hit the floor. I did this tricky left-leg-thrust, and caught it all on my pants, like a casscading waterfall.

All this reminded me of a column I wrote almost three years ago, when I only had one little boy and was close to having my second. I complained then about all the stains I was becoming and expert on, but after three boys in four years, I think now I was very naive in 2006....I wasn't outnumbered, yet.

A record of my day is kept on my shirt. Some like to journal. Others make lists. Still others record in their planners. All I need is my shirt to tell me what happened and to remind me of things I need to sill do.

The other day I was beautifying myself in the mirror before going out to meet with some friends in the evening, and my eyes caught a grotesque reflection of the stains on my blouse, stains that said park, picnic, snack, dusting, garden preserves and a couple of well placed hugs and pokes by my son.

It doesn't help that I have grown in diameter and have a strategically placed basketball protruding from my belly. This pregnancy has only seemed to attract the dirt and grime. All my lovely maternity shirts are now something to be worn for yard work or on the paint crew. I think early on I really did try and keep things clean, but I have resigned myself to this way of living.

As much as I want to shield myself from my boy's blueberry stained hands of glee, I find myself streching out my arms and reveling in the embrace he gives. When he cut his upper lip I grabbed his little body and immersed my shoulder in dripping blood to soothe his little crying soul.

Currently, he as a cold and a runny nose. Each one of my shirts has a gleam like a snail's trail from the snot he's rubbed on me during our hourly wrestling matches. Fall has beckoned his father back to teaching, and this little boy needs to get out all his energy regardless if he's stuck only with mom, so we wrestle and add decor to my wardrobe.

I do wonder if people look at me as I make my way through Fred Meyer and think, "What a filthy woman, why doesn't she try and keep herself clean? And look at her son. Look at that nose and face smeared with snot and bits of cookie. That shirt he has on....where has he been playing...the backyard?"

"Why yes, you're right!" My son is happy when he is dirty. So full of life when he's set free in his bare feet to roam the expanse of the earth he calls home. Nothing taste better to him than rocks, sticks, and an occasional bug. Nothing wows him more than mixing water, grass, and leaves. And nothing fills him with utter contentment more than a handful of juicy berries.

I think the best thing my shirts say at the end of the day is that we lived life together and we lived it well. There is calm silence as my son sleeps and dreams of tomorrow's muddy adventures.

(This first appeared in The Newberg Graphic in the fall of 2006, about three weeks before the birth of our second boy.)

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