young child covering face with hands dirty from multicolor paint

Life With Stains

I need to live a life with stains.

The schmear of petroleum jelly on our relatively new couch that I will eventually clean off with rubbing alcohol but it reminds me of the fact that for three days I had to wrap you up in gauze after your brit milah. I took care of you as that gauze pad got less and less bloody and all that was left was a perfect reminder of who you are to this world. Your first mitzvah.

I need to live a life where when you spit up, pee in four dimensions, and I can laugh without being upset that there’s messes.

This is your third outfit of the day and it’s only 11:30 AM.

When your father’s career is making one-of-a-kind furniture and everything in your house is literally priceless because of this and you stub your toe you’re more scared of nicking something than breaking your toe…
When your mother yells at you for rubbing your perpetually runny nose against your sleeve, making all of your ridiculously expensive clothes that you never wanted tinged with yellow-green…

All you want to say, screaming on the inside, is let me mess up. Let me make a mess. Can something physical be imperfect? Does this stuff need to be nickless? Pristine? For whom? Why?

I need to make a mess. Life is messy. Bloody. Full of spit-up and pee and you’re helpless and you need me and I need to accept that I actually need to wash my sheets more than every other week now. Or maybe not.

My body looks like a battlefield. I have a scar hugging my pelvic bone from where they had to tear you out of me. I see the blue sheet in front of me, splattered with my own blood when I close my eyes. I hear your firstcry, precious and curious and so so confused. I keep finding the traces of the endless amounts of bandages I needed put on me. My legs are bruised from the injections of blood thinner, my forearm purple and yellow from the IV exploring my veins in vain. I peel off the adhesive with my fingers. It gets stuck underneath my nails. It takes a full month to get it all off.

I need life to be stained.

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I find little pieces of you all over our apartment, your newborn skin flaking off with every move of your fragile, thin arms and legs. I kiss your toes and pick out the lint collecting in between and see them grow a little more every day. You made my life so messy. The beeline towards goals that was going smoothly has detoured into a misty path that I can’t see very far ahead of me.

This mess used to scare me.

Break me.

Depress me, have me up at night researching and brainstorming how to get stains out of materials that don’t have names or compositions one can see.  

Motherhood so far seems to be diving into a vaguely anthropomorphic goo and emerging clueless and what seems to be irreversibly dirty.

You wiggle a bit in discomfort until you spit up on my shoulder, I smile as I feel your body relax.

I take a tissue and wipe off what I can.

I can change it later.