By Charis Fleming
I watch from across the room as the tow headed boy climbs into her lap and snuggles next to her chest. Absentmindedly she reaches into her blouse to loosen a bulging breast, the liquid already spilling from the nipple onto the back of her hand. He quickly latches on and suckles and grins as he gulps down his nourishment, already a boy in love with a boob.
She wipes the back of her hand and inner wrist against the cotton T-shirt and turns the page on her Parenting magazine. I supposed I nursed her as casually once upon a time, but I can’t quite remember the joy I know I must have felt each time she came to me for sustenance. My current feeling of neglect crowds out that piece of history.
I do remember gazing into her cherubic face as she pigged out for the first 14 months of her life, the last couple of months of which I spent wincing each time she utilized my elongated nipples as teething toys. She’s all grown up now and doesn’t need me for anything anymore.
When she was just a toddler she’d stand between me and her daddy, her little head halfway up my thigh, her arms pushing against me and him, the strength of her need to be center stage forcing us to step back from each other and notice her presence there between us as we tried to embrace. She never tired to separate him from his second wife and often boasted of her step-parents as being wonderful additions to her resources for learning life lessons. I felt inferior next to the perfect step-mother.
Now, 35 years later, I gaze at the duo, daughter and grandson, and I want more than anything to tell them both how left out I am feeling. I want them to know if it wasn’t for me, neither of them would exist as they are. I wanted to claim all the credit for her intelligence, poise, grace and beauty. I wanted her to recall the carefully selected man I’d married whose genetics mixed so well with my own that she could not have avoided becoming a magnificent being if she had tired to in some way. I wish her father could have survived his bout with pancreatic cancer to see the beautiful boy named in his honor.
I wanted to scream at her to pay attention to every minute detail unfolding before her. My head longed to urge her to enjoy the sensations her body was experiencing, to wallow in the amazing act of producing milk and then feeding a child, giving a little human life then sustaining that life with nothing but her body as the sustenance manufacturing facility. How could she take these precious moments so nonchalantly? I watched as the fine dining of baby at the breast continued. I wanted to tell them both I was still in the room, beg them to find a way to include me at feeding time.
The boy, sated and re-energized climbs down from her lap while she fumbles to latch the nursing bra. He crawls a beeline to my feet, raises his body against my shin and beams me a special smile as I pick him up and snuggle my face into the fresh milk smell of a perfect baby’s neck.
“Hey, Rat-boy,” my daughter chides, “I do all the work and Grandma gets all the lovin’? What about this old cow over here? I’m sacrificing mammary perkiness here and you scoot over to hang with Grandma? Thanks a lot, ingrate!” I feel her eyes lock on mine as we both cling tightly to the vast well of love we want to claim from this child.
Perfect off-spring of my perfect off-spring. Her green eyes subtly smile into my hazel orbs causing my face to split wide with a loving grin. Life doesn’t get much better than this.
Charis Fleming received honorable mention in the Out of The Blue Films, Inc. ENVY Contest at red Ravine for her untitled essay.
Congratulations, Charis, from Out of The Blue Films, Inc. and red Ravine!
red Ravine is not liable for any actions by Out of The Blue Films, Inc., nor the Film. red Ravine has no legal responsibility for any outcomes from the contest.