Being your mother takes me aside, it is a whispered law, accepted by all. The science of our relationship is as undeniable as a craving. I crave you. It took me 6 weeks to get you off of my tit and out of my bed, then last week you were back. One hand on your father's cheek, the other on my breast. You were delighted. "Isn't this great fellas?" you implied, looking left, then right, then left, waiting for our agreeable reply. Just less than one hour ago I was hitting my head against the wall hoping between the rhythm and the osmosis of my exhaustion you would put yourself back to sleep in your little froggy pajamas from your uncle Jeff. Instead, you let me rock you. You rested your head on my shoulder and relented. You laid in your basinet and I covered you up and rubbed your belly. For 1 minute and 47 seconds I got to feel like your mother putting you to bed instead of a fuel station tanking you up.
We took a walk tonight, because mommy had a lot of stress. Because sometimes mommy wants to scream at you even though she knows that you are not whining to try to kill her with your newly discovered tonal daggers, rather you are listening to your new voice. A voice none of us knew two weeks ago. I am no fool. I have excelled at many jobs, do not doubt motherhood has been mine from the taking. So I gathered you up, and we left the house.
The house that holds the kitchen where your father tried to make instant mashed potatoes and instead used the rest of the margarine to make salt soup. The same kitchen that holds the microwave I finally got around to cleaning after making that bad bacon two weeks ago. That microwave that I cooked ham in tonight and once again reeks of pork. And we walked.
I propped you up in your stroller so you could see the neighborhood, and when I wanted to talk, out of awkwardness, out of some need to be your tour guide to life, I didn't. I shut it. I let life come to you. And me. I walked harder and faster and for the first time understood why our $300 stroller is worth every penny. I rolled you over curbs effortlessly. Train tracks, broken glass, and a tree branch fell quietly beneath our tread. I fumed. And released. I loved your father. He drives me crazy sometimes and all I can think about is watching him gray. Getting old with him, and knowing that I will contribute my fair share of his gray hairs is just another story I will tell you when you're older. Tonight, I walked you through our old neighborhood and missed nothing.
I put you to bed, made chicken salad for Daddy, and settled into the couch with a cup of Chamomile tea to watch the last episode of Grey's Anatomy on Netflix. I used to think this was the "real Lawton" time. When I got to just be myself. Then, the other day, I cut your thumb nail too short and you bled without a flinch. I put your thumb in my mouth and tasted iron. A few weeks ago you figured out that if you let out a scream bloody murder into dead air I come to you faster, and when you screamed I ran so fast when I arrived I couldn't remember having left your side in the first place. This is the real me. This is a chemistry I longed for and never understood. This is ownership, a commitment, the first promise I truly promise no matter what. And it is great Cohen, every tonal massacre, every co-sleeping night, the aching back the remaining 40 lbs., the 4 a.m. feeding you've given revival to... all of it. I love you frog face.