My bare feet stick to the hardwood floor as I stop in front of the refrigerator.
I look down. Lift one of my feet. Juice, maybe. I love that my six year-old is pouring his own but his aim is about as good as it is in the bathroom.
That floor could probably also use a good washing. I’ll add it to the list. If I had a list. But at some point it stops being a list and just becomes more crap I won’t get done.
I shift the baby on my hip. He isn’t really a baby anymore, his chubby legs carry him everywhere, and yet his favorite spot is “up!”, where the view is better and he can clutch the back of my arm like a security blanket.
I kiss the top of his head, inhaling his scent of warm toast.
The sun streams through the window with the view of our back yard and the houses beyond and then the mountains farther still. The dirty wine glasses on the counter take on a more romantic glow, like they were hastily deposited after a romantic dinner between lovers too anxious for each other to bother with the dregs, instead of being the last resort when all the other glasses were already in the dishwasher.
Anakin Skywalker guides Ahsoka in their latest adventure on the television in the living room while Sawyer and Sage sit, transfixed.
I open the refrigerator. I see it immediately, through the clear top drawer.
A big block of orange cheddar, medium sharp.
I open the drawer. Grab the cheese. Put it on the cutting board. Unwrap an edge.
Then carefully, carefully, with a knife made just for this express purpose, I slice off an edge.
And hold it, cool and smooth, in my hand.
I look at X. He gazes back, his brown eyes serious.
I open my mouth and place the cheese on my tongue.
Close my eyes.
It’s more than 15 months since I’ve last eaten cheese. Or dairy of any sort. Also wheat, soy, eggs and nuts among other things because X was sensitive and I wanted to nurse him that badly.
The cheese? That creamy, tangy corner of deliciousness? Still as amazing as ever.
I stand in the kitchen, with the sticky floor and the mountain view and the sun streaming through dirty glasses and the sound of light sabers and a softly breathing baby on my hip, and I roll that cheese around in my mouth and I think about how much I missed something so simple and how I would give it up again if it kept X from cramping and crying.
How this bite of cheddar is enough to make me feel a little bit more like myself.
I plop X on the couch in his second-favorite spot: between his brother and sister, with the top of his toes poking just beyond the khaki cushions.
And I get out the mop.