Yesterday, I tried to feed Oliver some oatmeal. He didn’t want it, so I amped it up with some mango on top. He didn’t want it, so I shoved it in his mouth while he was screaming. He didn’t want it, so he spit it out.
So I dumped the whole bowl of oatmeal out onto his tray, called him a bad word, and walked to the kitchen sink, hot tears flying down my face. Then I walked out of the room and let him cry.
I don’t want a baby that doesn’t understand it’s a privilege to have food to eat. I don’t want a baby who doesn’t acknowledge that mango is a gift from God, sprung from a seed and a tree and the finest food you could ever hope for. I don’t want a baby who spits things out.
But. I have a baby. A baby I want.
I dropped Oliver off at daycare, following the oatmeal incident, and took some time to myself. I cried. Like, a shitton.
My frustration, like all my frustration, was rooted in fear. Fear that I don’t know how to take care of him. That I won’t be able to. That I can’t make him know things that I have come to know. That forgiveness is a rotating door. It never stops opening, and it never stops closing. Every two minutes, every twenty-four hours, every month, every year.
If I’m going to be a mother (and too late!; I am!), I’m going to have to figure out how to feed him. I’m going to have to figure out how to let him come to his own conclusions. (Like, he’s allowed, technically, to not love mango.) I’m going to have to forgive him. For spitting things out…for every.thing.
When I picked him up from daycare, I opened the door to find his blue eyes shining bright, and you could see in them the sheer joy he had to see me. Just to see me.
He had completely forgiven me.
And I had forgiven him, of course, probably while I was at the kitchen sink. Immediately after the incident, the forgiveness had taken place. Forgiveness & love. Intertwined, whether we want them to be or not.
The only one I had left to forgive was me.
So we turned on the radio, and we drove our short ride home, and as our voices sang in time, I followed suit. I didn’t fail anyone today. I forgive me.
p.s. He ate the oatmeal – off of the tray – off of the floor – about 45 min. later.