The other night one of my best friends from college came over to visit the family. She’s seen me go from svelte, clueless Ghanaian to overweight, guarded ‘American’ in the 12 years that we’ve known each other. She’s seen me at my best and my worst during our college years and beyond. However, because she lives in Riverdale, GA and I live in Roswell, we haven’t had the chance to spend much quality time together. Perhaps it is because of our limited time together that she was appalled and confused by my personal physical state upon entering my home last weekend.
The house was clean (for a change) and the kids were all asleep after church. When I am at home, I REFUSE to wear a bra. I have enough discomfort carrying a baby in my belly and a baby on my hip to be constricted by wire and fabric. All the same, when I heard Toyah’s knock on the door, I threw a singlet on under my tent shaped African dress; to reduce floppage. We didn’t have much to chat about. I’ve found that true old friends rarely have the need to chatter aimlessly unless completely necessary. We sat and watched the Matrix and made foolish commentary. I pulled off my bonnet to reveal my birthday weave.
“Wow,” she said. “That’s quite a weave.”
We sat in comfortable silence until the baby woke up, crying for attention and milk. Toyah, the good aunt that she is, fed him his bottle, burped him, and spoke to him while I watched the film. When she was done, he squirmed away signaling that he was ready for his mom to hold him. Suddenly, I felt something warm and slimy on my back. This being my third child, I knew instinctively that I’d been thrown up on. I handed Toyah his bib.
“Hey, can you wipe my back off? He threw up on me.”
“Ewwww!!!” she cried.
Ewww? It was baby throw-up. What’s the big deal?
“Oh yeah, and some of it is under my arm pit. Can you get that too?”
Toyah sighed with disgust and delicately wiped my back and right pit.
“It’s in your bra too,” she announced.
I didn’t bother to inform her I wasn’t wearing a bra.
When I’d been cleaned up to some degree, I sat back and continued to watch the film. Then I heard a disbelieving:
“Ummm…you’re not going to go upstairs and change your clothes?”
“Huh?” Now I was confused. “Change for what? He’s just going to throw up on me again at some point.”
After giving this explanation, I mindlessly flipped the baby over to discover he had a massive yellow booger in his nose. I struggled with him to fish it out.
“Ewww!! Ohhh!! Malaka, that’s gross!” Toyah cried.
“What? It’s just a booger.”
I held it up so she could get a closer look. Then I pretended to wipe in on her jeans…However I misjudged the enormity of the booger and a piece of it lodged itself onto her pants. Her panicked look told me what I’d done before I saw it myself. By the time my other two children woke up, got a cheesy snack and gave big toddler hugs to their Aunt ‘Yaki’ (consequently putting cheese on her jeans), she announced that she had planned to wear those jeans to work the next day, but now she couldn’t.
Oh well, my friend. I guess you can’t. Welcome to my universe.
On a personal note, it has been rough watching my slow and steady decline from this (hot 20-something with a flat belly and light in her eyes):
to this (worn out 30-something with an enormous fro and dimming eyes):
…but sometimes the cause of motherhood compels you to give up certain things – such as your dignity and your appearance.