In misery it is great comfort to have a companion.–John Lyly, 1553 ~ 1606 But it is of even greater comfort to have a family.–Petunia Face, 1972 ~
In case any of you were wondering if I am your mama, the answer is no. And if you should argue with that statement my daughter will kick your ass. While laughing. And doing a jig. At two years old she has become a bit of a sociopath when it comes to what is hers and apparently, along with a new tiara, one Bonne Belle Lip Smacker, a scarf and a magic wand that lights up, I am hers. MAMA! She screams when I drop her off at daycare, one small hand smacking my ass as she says it. MY MAMA! Like a 30” pimp establishing ownership over one of his girls. And it kind of makes sense in that scenario, what with all the sticky hands and smiling eyes hovering around like a band of very short gypsies. But it does not really make sense when we are at home and Nacho has the nerve to curl around my ankles mewing for food. NO NACHO, THAS MY MAMA! Zoey has taken to pushing Nacho away from me, tiny toddler fingers perilously close to his backside kitten camera shutter. Push. MINE! And Bryan. Poor Bryan. It’s hard enough having a toddler and maintaining intimacy with your spouse, but when said toddler gets in your spouse’s face and fairly growls at him THAS MY MAMA! NO! it is all that much more difficult. Needless to say, Zoey is in jeopardy of ever having a sibling. Which right about now seems to be her agenda. And Bryan’s. On this they are in agreement. Saturday saw me as Zoey’s bitch from the minute she woke up at 5:30am. MAMA? MAMA! she called from her crib. MAMA! I HAVE A BOOGER NOSE! So I got up to wipe it, to change her diaper, to watch Dora’s Super Silly Fiesta, to make oatmeal and cuddle on the couch. Mama, you mine? Zoey asked all soft and sweet, the sunrise a sliver of warm pink outside her window. And in that moment I was.
But the day was not all soft-focus lenses. Later I gave Zoey a Hello Kitty Sticker Album which one might think would elicit much joy and gratitude. But that one might not realize that a sticker of Hello Kitty dressed as a monkey features a very thin tail and that a very thin tail coupled with some very pudgy toddler fingers inevitably means that Hello Kitty gets torn and becomes Hi Non-Prehensile Kitty and OH DEAR GOD NO NOT THAT, MY MAMA! YOU’RE MY MAMA! OH NO! KITTY MONKEY TAIL, WHY? MAMA? MAMA? MY MAMA! Never have I heard such keening. Later we all piled in the car to go to Bryan’s mom’s house for dinner. Zoey was not quite over the Hello Kitty Sticker Incident of 2008 and Bryan was in a mood, having worked all day on some horrible no good very bad issue with a client. My mama, Zoey said half-heartedly as Bryan loaded her into the car. No, she’s my mama, he said back, and in that moment I did not want to be anyone’s mama, no matter the subtext. Zoey wailed the entire car ride, a soft lament of mamamamamama. Bryan was silent, the kind of silence that hurts my ears. I drove with my left hand on the steering wheel, my right arm stretched over the back of the seat and into Zoey’s lap where she pulled at the skin on the back of my hand as if it were a teat. Mamamamamamama. Silence. Pinching my hand. More silence. I hated them both. Because I knew that the moment we got there Zoey would jump into her Grandma DD’s arms and be happy, that Bryan would smile and talk and be present. So even though I did not rip any Hello Kitty stickers, even though I did not have a bad client meeting, even though I knew who my mama was and was perfectly willing to share, I was pissed. Mamamamama. Silence. Pinch. The Subaru in front of me slowed to turn right, but rather than just making the turn they hesitated for what seemed like eternity, a second too long. FIGURE IT OUT! I shouted, my new way of road rage swearing, safe for toddler ears. FUCKTWAT! Bryan yelled out his open window, apparently having not yet figured out his own toddler safe road rage obscenity. MY MAMA! Zoey screamed. And I laughed, so pleased was I with my miserable husband and child. Bryan laughed. And then Zoey. And then we lapsed back into silence, back into the low funereal dirge of mamamamama, and I was happy, so happy, the skin on the back of my hand a dry teat, so happy to be miserable with MY FAMILY.