I nurse my boy. He is sick – snot is bubbling over and his breathing sounds wet, clogged. He bites my nipple. Top and bottom teeth – sharp, undulled by apples and candy and time – pinch me. It feels like two steak knives tearing me apart. My son is a cannibal.
I look down, ready to throw him from me – ever gentle even in anger, a violent toss with a soft landing about six inches from our current spot on the bed. Instead, he smiles. His big, toothy, gummy, eight-month-old earth-shaking smile. My reactionary anger dissolves and I lean over…Eskimo kisses. Snotty, wet, beautiful nose-rubbing on a Saturday morning.
Somewhere in the midst of the nipple biting, the hair pulling, the vomiting and pissing and shitting and snotting, the tearing agony of birth…somewhere we have fused at the core. I became a different person when I became a mother. Not just a mother – his mother.
My heart moves around outside of my body. It cries as he struggles to crawl towards Michael. I feel the emptiness of where it used to be when I am at work, separated, adrift in so many ways. It beams when he does the tiniest, stupidest things.
He picks up my coffee mug – no small feat, given that this mug fits an entire pot of coffee in it’s not-inconsiderable depths – and he twists it. He is sure they are real, these objects on the outside, in bright, goofy castro-district paint colors proclaiming “San Francisco is Gay!” with a caricature of the golden gate bridge. He looks inside and is stunned at the emptiness, sure that the bridge has hidden itself somehow. He twists again, looking at the outside, then putting his hand in the mug. He looks at me. He giggles. I giggle. And my giggle turns to tears because already he is growing up too damn fast.
My boy – my heart – is so, so beautiful.
This love is messy. I have the bright, sticky red juice of it dripping from my bones. It’s in my marrow. As inexplicable as life itself, and as beautiful.
Later. Our son bounces in a plastic contraption that I loathe. One of the things that I – when I was far superior and determined that I would never have children – was wont to mock. Michael comes to where I am sitting, back braced against the doorway scribbling over an article. He crouches down to the floor, and he kisses me. Gently, then passionately. We have married. We have had a child. We are still combustible.
Mattie laughs at his parents, tangling arms and legs on the floor. We smile at each other, and I know. I loved him before, but now it is shifted. More primal. This man is my mate. Our genetic codes have danced and fused together, and created the most beautiful thing either of us has ever known. Now there is wonder mixed in with the friendship and lust and affection. Now there is a purpose to our romance.
We are a cluttered, silly, distractable family. We don’t do anything that anyone thinks we should, but we do everything just right. These two…my two perfectly imperfect men…they complete me. I complete them. We are eternal.