As I read your blogs, many are written by young mothers with beautiful small children. You talk of diapers to change, outfits to buy, places you must scurry to for lessons, school plays, toys to pick up and the fingerprints that are on everything in your homes. By now you know that my daughter is sixteen. Those things that fill your days passed me by many years ago and since motherhood is the only thing I ever wanted, I cherished everything about Alyssa’s childhood…the poopy diapers, the taxi service to ballet, tap, jazz, karate and gymnastics, the sippy cups, the barbies that overtook my living room at least once a week as we made an entire city and dared anyone to move our stores and houses… I could go on and on and on.
Maybe it is because I came across a blog that had Cheerios as the header or because I have a brand new box of Cheerios in the kitchen, but there is a memory that I cherish that has been in the forefront of my mind for days now.
It was a hot summer day. The air conditioner was cranking, the fan overhead whirring and the sun was shining with full gusto through the living room window. Alyssa and I were sitting on the couch side by side. Her little legs stretched completely out, but still so short that they barely reached the edge of the cushion. She was a little more than three years old and held a tiny orange Tupperware cup on her lap ever so carefully so as not to spill any Cheerios which I had filled all the way to the brim.
Alyssa was a delicate, feminine, prissy little girl with white blonde hair, big brown eyes and porcelain white skin. On that particular day she had her hair in pig tails, decorated with white bows and was wearing a turquoise and white striped, sleeveless knit dress. I remember thinking how perfectly her little body was formed. Little arms, little legs, little fingers and little toes. She took two fingers and reached into the bowl to retrieve a Cheerio. Slowly she brought it to her lips, but just before she opened her mouth, she looked up at me and said, “Do you want one?”
Before getting an answer she was aiming the little round cereal towards my mouth. She placed it just barely between my lips. As I chewed it, she just watched me.
“Is it good?” she asked.
“Yummy” I said.
She smiled and then picked up a Cheerio for herself. Her fingers were so tiny that the Cheerio looked huge in comparison. We sat and ate her Cheerios. She ate one and then fed me one. She was content to just sit quietly, talking, eating and feeding me Cheerios.
When we had finished every morsel of cereal, she looked directly into my eyes and said, “I love you Mommy.” Then she stood up on her tiny little feet with the red polished toenails and put her arms around my neck and squeezed. I couldn’t help but cry then just as I am now.
Everything was perfect.
The silky strands of her hair on my face, the smell of sweet skin, the soft little arms around me…
This is surely how perfection feels.
I miss those Cheerio moments.