killing ants and noticing how contentment smells

This morning,
i filled up the baby’s tub,
and he splashed
while i rubbed honeysuckle soap into bubbles on his sweet head
bundled him into a tiny blue bathrobe,
and got ready for work.

One of the waitresses called in sick
and the lunch crowd was thick and steady
there’s something about having 9 tables
constantly turning
thats a lot like being a mom
you can’t think of all the things you have to do
if you do you’ll cry
you just do what’s right in front of you
and if you’re good
food gets eaten while its hot
and messes get cleaned up
and everyone’s relatively happy.

After work, Ryan dropped the baby off
and went to see a soccer match
C and i drove to the market
having made good money at the restaurant
i decided to pick out a few starts from the racks out front
more strawberries
peas and beans
and spicy salad mix
grabbed a bag of compost too,
and C and I trailed the rich odor of compost all around the grocery store.

toss a bag of toilet paper, and a new sponge into the cart
select red chard, carrots, and yams to make into baby food
remember i am out of coffee beans
C bounces in the cart, and trills and grunts
we pick out his free piece of fruit (hurray co-ops)
a ripe d’anjou pear
i hold it out for him to examine
and he smashes his face against it
gouging out tiny chunks with his two wee teeth
which reminds me to buy
homeopathic teething medicine.

We giggle at each other
and i kiss his cheeks a dozen times in succession
and look over the things in the cart behind him
if the me of 3 years ago saw me now,
i would covet my life
even in the waitressing clothes.
its a nice feeling
contentment so tangible i can smell it
in the compost and the pear juice
running down his chin

At home,
i stand in the doorway clutching the baby and the groceries
as the dogs surge past me,
bumping against
waitressing bag and breast pump bag, dangling heavy from my left elbow
and baby’s swim bag and diaper bag dangling from my right
C fusses and squirms,
realize just how much housework i need to do
dirty laundry is at critical mass
and there are ants everywhere
i don’t know why

But i put the sad baby in the backpack
and smash about a thousand of them
noticing that when i smash some
others run for cover
and i deduce they are screaming at each other
in tiny ant voices
i feel like an American General
convinced of my mission and
too far up the chain of command to hear the sounds of carnage
relatively unmoved by the death

When the counters are relatively free of ants,
I peel 5 carrots and put them into the oven with 2 yams
and dice and start steaming the red chard
thaw out some of Grandma’s applesauce to mix in

wash dishes
feed the dogs
listen to Radiohead
C cheers up, blowing bubbles
and eating plum bananna brown rice
its begun to rain outside and when i go outside in it
it smells like spring
after a relentless winter that won’t give way,
here it is a week past mother’s day

Make myself a big bowl of miso bok choy salad
with some spicy tofu and fresh tomato

Assata hears a sound and barks
Callum thinks this is hilarious
and barks back
while offering Annie his apricot
laughing hysterically when she licks it
and then putting it back in his own mouth.
Both of these are new tricks.
Later, while I fill up 14 tiny jars with
chard Grandma’s Applesauce garnet yams carrots brown rice and flax oil,
he pushes his little blue car industriously around the floor
cloth diaper bulging around his tiny butt through striped pajamas

By the time he falls asleep on my chest,
honeysuckle scented hair beneath my chin
I’ve got the babyfood stowed in the freezer
Laundry still undone, but oh well
and the smell of two rain-damp dogs is mingling with the honeysuckle
i decide that if contentment has a smell,
it is something like today
the smell of work clothes, compost and unwashed dogs, mingling with
the smell of pear juice and honeysuckle baby shampoo


1 Comment

Filed under basic goodness, Food, Garden, love, motherhood, Ordinary, poetry, violence, waitressing, watching it all go by

One response to “killing ants and noticing how contentment smells

  1. girl, you gotta stop making baby food! Have you heard of Baby-Led Weaning? Basically, no pureed food at all, they just eat what they can from whatever you are eating. Very natural and slow progression to eating small bits of food.

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