When my grandparents came to visit as a kid, they’d always sleep in my room. I wouldn’t let my mom take the sheets off after they left. Their smell. I wanted it to last, and the sheets seemed to hold it the longest. I’d cry when it no longer smelled like them but rather me.
My mom came a couple days after Hal was born. We needed all the help we could get. I assumed I would be a natural. But those first couple weeks, Hal and I spoke an entirely different language. My mom stood in as the translator.
I watched her walk Hal around the house soothing her while singing twinkle, twinkle little stars. Meanwhile, I did what I know best and made acorn squash risotto for dinner.
I cooked more than I should have those first couple weeks. But it made me feel normal. I was in my element. (Although I seemed to overcook and under salt everything.)
Two weeks after she arrived, my mom left to head back home. I stood in the bathroom with tears in my eyes and inhaled the last scent of her hair spray still lingering in the air. I wanted to pull out my childhood trick and replace my pillow case with hers. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye and do this motherhood thing alone.
Six weeks have passed. And we’ve somehow survived. I made an acorn squash enchilada sauce with the leftover squash from the risotto. I even managed not to under salt it. Hallie and I don’t need a translator anymore. We seem to understand each other (most days). I know her hungry cry apart from her sleepy cry. She knows when my lips part and curl at the corners that I’m smiling at her. She gladly returns it.