Naked Baby On The Loose (Part 2)
The last vestiges of my pride have been squeezed through the wine press of parenting. I never thought I'd see the day where one of my children would be spotted naked within a public place. (Let alone a trendy public place. On a Saturday.)
The unexpected toxic waste clean-up set our schedule back somewhat. The kids were hungry and Ikea sells cheap food. We found a table upstairs in the cafeteria. I nursed the baby and tried to corral our other little monkeys while Ben, the fearless hunter-gatherer, went in search of sustenance.
The baby spit up on my shirt. I spilled soup on the crotch of my shorts. The kids were cranky. My fuse, it did burn short.
A little voice in the back of my head whispered, "Careful. Stay under control ... you never know who may be watching." I remembered an episode a few weeks back when I had been tempted to lose it on the kids (where else?) in the grocery store check-out line. Unexpectedly, a kind friend from church popped up to help load my groceries. She had seen our family from across the store. I was eternally grateful to my friend, and thankful I had (barely) held my temper.
Sure enough, in the Ikea cafeteria of all places, we heard a tentative, "Ben? Is that you?" A long-lost friend had spotted our family from across the room. He pretended not to notice the soup dripping down my leg. He smiled as Ben introduced our littlest (naked) family member. He showered our frazzled, rag-tag family with compliments.
Our naked baby cooed and gurgled, his exposed legs looking extra chubby and adorable. I thought to myself, "Who cares that we're not absolutely presentable? We are a real family with real weaknesses. Sometimes I forget to pack diaper supplies, and the baby makes a mess, and the kids run wild, and I spill my lunch. We're not perfect people."
The perfectionist inside me cringed. On the outside I mustered my courage and smiled at our old friend.
So did my naked baby.