Entries from October 10th, 2019

Intimacy

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Being a counselor involves a lot of intimacy, but as intimacy goes, it’s a relatively dry occupation. Just tears, and a bit of snot, both of which most people are perfectly capable of cleaning up for themselves.

When I signed on to be a mom, I expected work. Work and caregiving. Caregiving work. Messy work. And I was right. But I wasn’t prepared for just how intimate it is. And I’m barely four months in.

I’m not just talking about fluids, although there’s a lot of them. I’m talking about what happens when those fluids mingle with love, dependency, innocence, and sweetness, creating a profound intimacy I wasn’t associating with the effort of motherhood.

I mean, on a day-to-day basis, most people, especially the people we love most of all, don’t stare intently into our eyes while pushing out a massive poo that we then have to clean up. Nor do we sing happy little songs and kiss their bellies while we wipe.

Of course, I realize now that this is parenthood, and caregiving in general. I’m not having a unique experience under these ambiguous crusts; I’ve just entered more deeply into the human condition.

Humans do this for each other. We do it for babies, and we do it for the elderly, the disabled, the infirm. One day the babies–ours or someone else’s–will do it for us.

It’s weird, and beautiful, and the intimacy makes it all okay.

But apparently, I’m kind of dumb, and definitely late to the game. When I told Thomas that I hadn’t anticipated parenthood to be so intimate, he said, “Well, d’uh.”

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