Revisiting The Black Spot

The Year was 2013.

I was experiencing, for the first time in my life, the harrowing realities of having a two and a half year old male creature.

He was fantastically adorable.

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Which did not make up for the fact that he was two and a half and therefore made me fear for his life continuously.

Lest you’ve never had a two and a half year old male of your own, here’s the short version: they’re fast enough to do whatever they want and stupid enough to do whatever they think of.

He wasn’t the type to take dangerous risks. In that, I was lucky. But he was the type to, every now and then when I was resting in my fortune that he wasn’t SO bad, do something completely and terrifyingly unexpected.

Such was the case with The Black Spot.

I had taken my two children, one being the ultra-responsible six year old girl and the other being the grab bag of surprises two and a half year old boy, to the downtown library. The downtown library is a giant place of wonder and excitement and history. Books of history. Newspaper microfiche filled with history. An entire extra multi-story building of history. And also floors covered in history.

We were in the entrance plaza, where there’s a semi-circle of low steps that lead from the front door to the desks. Those steps are well-traveled steps, and they definitely looked the part that day. It’s a constant movement of people walking through, tracking all of the outside world in and depositing it on those steps before truly entering the library.

And I still haven’t figured out what I did to cause the Creator to smite me so, but this black spot caught Noah’s eye that fateful day in 2013.

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I saw him take a second glance at it and I sadly did not think fast enough to compute all of the parallel realities in which this crucial second could take me. Ultimately, I was counting on my son’s relative calm to guide me through this potential storm.

But. Within .0483 seconds, he turned to that Choose-Your-Own-Adventure page that ends in “…and all the characters died. The End”

He stooped down and my precious lovely child LICKED THE FREAKING BLACK SPOT.

I saw his tongue go out and immediately started praying.

No Dear God No Dear God Please No Dear God No No No Please Don’t Let It Be…

I leaned over and checked. It was.

The black spot was now a moist black spot.

And my life and surely his were now over.

I was the failure of a mother who’d allowed her gorgeous toddler to lick the shoe sole botulism coating on a piece of year-old used chewing gum.

And he would surely start seizing at any moment.

I momentarily pondered washing his mouth out with Purell. Or perhaps a bar of soap. How about foaming hand soap in the bathroom? Maybe just dunk his head in the toilet. It couldn’t make it worse.

But deep down, I knew it was too late. I could visualize those wriggling black-spot germs burrowing into his tongue. I lived out the rest of that day in fear, watching him for any sign of instant demise.

But somehow, that was 2013 and this is 2017 and he’s still a healthy, gorgeous boy – and one that has the tiniest bit more sense than that black spot tasting two and a half year old.

For the first time since The Incident, I braved the downtown public library again with my children in tow. It wasn’t that the library had done anything to me, per say, but the Mommy Guilt that would scream at me from The Black Spot – I wasn’t sure I could bear up under it.

As we drove slowly to The Place of My Failure, I told my children the story of The Black Spot.

Ali remembered it, but Noah did not. He was fascinated by the tale of this unknown toddler – he couldn’t fathom ever being a Spot Licker.

We walked into the lobby and to the parcel of flooring that I knew I’d never forget. Both kids were eagerly chanting “Where’s the black spot? Where is it?”

We found the stair and there was indeed on its surface a slightly lighter spot – perhaps the same one, but probably not. After all, black spots come and go, but memories of licking them stay forever.

Noah proudly posed with his history.

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And the Oreo shrapnel around his mouth really added to the believability that he had, at one time, licked that.

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And all I could do in that moment is what every Mom in the universe has done before me. Sigh and silently hope that he, one day, has a child just like himself.

It’s Hard Work Being His Favorite.

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“Mommy, You’re the Best.”

“Hey Mommy………..I love you.”

I hear each of those phrases at least forty-eight times a day.

Noah likes me. A lot.

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And by a lot I mean he really prefers to be with me at all moments.

It’s utterly precious until it’s not.

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All the honest Moms out there say “here, here.”

“Not” starts somewhere around 10am in the morning when I need just a second or two by myself.

But that is an unreasonable request, he quickly lets me know.

And I have to ask…

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So to have a tiny second to myself, I try gifting him with the lovely bonus of a break from school. And I steal away to my room for just a second of silence from his incessant talking and questions and talking and questions.

But he comes and finds me.

During break time.

It’s as if he doesn’t understand that break times are for Mommies.

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So I do what any normal mom would do.

I take a shower.

Thinking that this is the one place I can have a moment alone.

Until I start to get out of said shower.

And notice a tiny set of blue eyes peeking from the other side of the cracked door.

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I scream.

Naturally.

Because my brain doesn’t immediately compute that it’s the stalker I birthed from my own body and not some other more nefarious stalker.

Which makes my tiny stalker cry.

“Mommy! You scared me!”

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Yeah. Because I wasn’t scared at all.

So we get in the car to do errands.

Where it becomes most apparent that he can only process thought if and only if he thinks out loud with the preface of “Hey Mommy….?”

After which he’ll wait 3 seconds for an interested answer.

I don’t give it. Because I only have so many interested answers a day and he’s already used them up before I get out of bed.

So he continues without feedback.

“Hey Mommy….did you know I once forgot to put my goggles on when I went down the slide at the pool?”

“Hey Mommy…I really like Pokemon.”

“Hey Mommy…you should really see mine and Ali’s city on Minecraft.”

After the first few Hey Mommys my brain feels like Louis C.K.

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After ten more Hey Mommys (and we haven’t even gotten out of the neighborhood yet) I feel like Klum.

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At Hey Mommy number 25 (we might have made it to the interstate by now) my insides are full-on Snape.

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Halfway through our 20 minute trip we reach Hey Mommy number 53 and all I hear and see and feel and am is Schwarzenegger.

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It’s rough being so thoroughly loved. But it’s precisely why we become Mommies.

The Greatest Snowstorm of All Time.

I believed in my heart.

I waited with anticipation.

I followed the forecast, minute by minute, keeping three radar apps, a weather blog, and a constantly updating Twitter feed up on my phone.

This one – this is the one that would happen. The Winter Wonderland my kids deserved. The Winter Wonderland I deserved.

Finally, Friday evening, it started sleeting. Then giant snowflakes! Huge, fluttery snowflakes mixed in with the sleet. Then back to sleet…then it tapered off.

But I still believed.

I was awoken by my son the next morning. He believed, too.

“There’s more snow than last night! There’s lots of snow out there!”

I looked out the window with great expectations in my heart.

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Indeed.

It was our very own Snowy Utopia.

I mean we might as well live in Maine, for the giant drifts of sleet in our yard.

The children excitedly donned their warmest clothes over their pajamas and ran out to bask in the glory of the multiple feet of snow surrounding our house.

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It was quickly determined that this wasn’t snowman snow. Or snowball snow. So that meant it had to be snow angel snow.

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Their faces shown with the thrill of existing in a 100% white-with-snow world.

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We quickly pulled out our snow board, which is pulled down hills all year ‘round by an old electrical cord, but now could fly on its very own.

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What a wonderful world.

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Noah remembered that it was his best friend Loulie’s birthday (it was actually the day after her birthday but sometimes 6 year olds have a breakdown in communication) and quickly declared that we needed to take a walk around the corner to her house. He and I worked our way through the treacherous snow, barely averting the very real danger of falling into a drift too deeply to be rescued.

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When we finally arrived, nearly frostbitten at every end, and told Loulie about the unbelievable fun we were having doing the whole Winter Wonderland scene, she decided to join us. And so we started our long trek back, wishing we had sled dogs to help us make it through.

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But the bone-chilling journey was all worth it when we introduced Loulie to our 70mph sled.

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This is the kind of snowstorm that thoroughly tousles one’s hair.

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The speeds were so intense that Noah preferred being walked. Like a dog.

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And then another neighbor saw our fun and contributed a real device to our adventures. Wow did that thing slide gracefully. With speeds that left flames in their wake and blew people’s coats up into intertubes.

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I’m pretty sure we earned our Canadian citizenship today.

All of Alabama did.