Posted in Blog, Shawna

Locker room talk

I was sitting in the locker room at the Mountlake Terrace Pool after a nice, long swim and a much longer and decidedly less nice de-swim. I survived the slippery, soapy baby in the shower, managed to find a dry spot amid dozens of soaking toddlers and successfully pulled Q’s tiny clothes over her cold, wet little body, and I was now wondering what to do next.

When you’re wet, the towels are wetter and the baby is dry and dressed, it’s a lot like that old mind game of getting the chicken, the fox and the feed all over to the other side of the river intact. Except you don’t have a boat. And you’re naked.  (Some would say that I should get dressed before the baby so I can be dry when I handle her. But in my opinion, a screaming, angry wet baby is not an improvement over a wet baby.)

So there I sat with the driest wet towel draped over my body and my ragdoll of a baby threatening to fall asleep on top of it. I looked up to see a sweet-faced old lady standing over me. “You are so smart to just sit there and enjoy yourself with that baby,” she said. “I was always in such a hurry with my little ones. I wish I could do it all over again!”

There it was again.  Like the sparkle of sunlight that winks through the blinds when you’re wearing a path through the carpet holding your baby like a burden, or the tiny little hand that reaches up and strokes your cheek mid-nurse just as you’re reaching for your phone: A sliver of beauty that helps you find yourself in the moment and hold on to it. I relaxed into the seat and enjoyed the weight of Q’s warm little body on my shoulder.

Mothering a young child is so weird because intellectually, you know it is fleeting, but it sure doesn’t feel that way, especially when you’re cleaning caked apricot off the highchair for the twentieth time in a week while your baby pulls your hair with one hand and drops her toy for the millionth time with the other.

Right now, this baby girl is my constant companion, and sometimes she is tough company. But before I know it, she will be someone else entirely and I will be the only one who remembers the cautious squeal she made as her little toes touched the water or the rush of her hot, sleepy breaths on my cheek in the middle of the crowded locker room.

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  1. Shawna – i love your insightful, silly, sunny voice. You put to screen things I’ve felt but can’t express. write on mama!

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