I gave my daughter the gift of life. She, in turn, gives me a crumb.
At least I think it’s a crumb. It might be a fuzz, or a bit of a leaf. In any case, she found it on the carpet.
I really should vaccuum more.
“Ooh, for me? Thank you!” I say brightly. She stares at me, waiting to see what I’ll do with it. I smile down at the crumb in my hand until I feel like I’d given it sufficient attention, then put it back on the carpet.
My daughter bends down, picks it up, and places it in my hand again.
“Thank you!” I say again. Okay, now what? I close my hand over the crumb and place it over my heart, then place my other hand on top of it and rock from side to side – our symbol for hugs.
“Hugs,” I say. My daughter loves hugging things. Maybe I’m meant to hug this crumb to show her how much I appreciate it.
“Yes, hugs!” I say louder, but she isn’t having it. She grabs my hand and opens it, extracting the crumb and holding it between her thumb and forefinger.
“What should we do with it?” I ask.
She opens her mouth.
“No no no no no,” I say as I grab the crumb. “That’s dirty. It doesn’t go in our mouth.”
She gives me a confused look and grabs for the crumb again.
“Not for the mouth,” I say firmly.
She smiles and tries to grab my tongue.
“Naaughoarudgh,” I mumble, as she runs her fingers over my teeth. She is the dentist and I am the patient.
Oh God, am I ever patient.
Maybe this is her real gift to me – teaching me how to just take these as they come. A crumb. Tiny fingers in my mouth. The nursery lurgy that I inevitably catch after the hand-in-mouth incident. That’s the wonder of motherhood – you never know what’s going to come next.
She removes her hand from my mouth and pokes me in the eye with a wet finger.
“Thank you!” I say, and I almost mean it.