in the presence of babies

I have been scolded for my cavalier attitude of the corona virus pandemic, I have been questioned if my trip to Atlanta to help with my son’s moving was really necessary. My foul mouth is once again under fire (no surprise there). I suppose it has been confirmed by those who know me and those who don’t that I’m a hard-ass bitch. I suppose that’s true. On the positive side, I am consistent—what you see and hear is what you get. There is a heart of gold underneath for those who care to look. For those I’ve offended, my apologies—I’ve had quite a bit of experience in that department. But I’m not writing to defend or explain my behavior, my thoughts, words or actions—I am writing about what happens in the presence of babies.

If I were to put the experience of babies into one sentence, it would be that the world as you know it (this pandemic world, in particular) doesn’t exist. There is little to no talk of disease, no old people chatter about infection and contamination—dirty diapers come first. Snotty noses, coughs and colds are a way of life. There is no end to the consumption of milk, juice, yogurt, snacks—the trip to the grocery store, drug store, can be done with one’s eyes closed and quarantine can easily become a fleeting concept. There is no whining about missed movies, concerts, travel—there are videos, baskets of books, enough toy cars to drive a nation of sick folks to the hospital (my knee is actually bruised from hours of racing cars on all fours). A smile turns to tears (and vice versa) in seconds—determining the reason may take a little longer. Your sleep, your hunger, your sanity comes in fits and spurts. Babies rule the roost and self-indulgence doesn’t exist. Facebook is a time sucker that you have no time for. And so on and so on and so on.

My children are exhausted and I get frustrated in not knowing what to do, how to soothe when mommy walks out the door, how to help with packing a household amid the chaos and constant interruption of toddlers. But I’m here, agile and grateful that I am physically strong enough to handle it all, and I fall asleep with only one thought—that the babies live to experience a better world, a dream perhaps, but one that I cling to. I am needed and I am loved. And can think of no better way to face a pandemic.