Barf: The Binding Force Of MotherhoodAllana Harkin
I’m not a big fan of other people’s barf but I can’t assume that’s entirely unique to me.
But somehow, some way, barf finds me. There are other things that I hope make me special but let’s just concentrate on this one truly disgusting one: my barf magnetism.
My first full-on encounter with baby barf that didn’t cause me to run screaming for the door was at my Godson’s baptism. I didn’t have children of my own at the time but his mother is my soul sister and someone who I would truly do anything for. Anything, like catching her son’s vomit in my right hand so that his baptismal gown wasn’t soiled. Trust me on this one – there is no way to casually hold barf. I’ve done it, it’s not possible. I hoped the day would go down as one of huge spiritual awakening for all involved but to this day it’s mostly known as the day “Allana caught the barf.”
So when I arrived on the airplane yesterday and realized I was sitting next to a mother with a very sick baby I knew what the next few hours had in store for me: I would be barfed on. It would be disgusting and most likely would contain elements of banana and hints of oatmeal. It was such a guarantee in my mind that I half expected the flight attendant to include the barf removal lowdown in her safety demonstration. But that’s when the most miraculous thing happened. I didn’t care. I suddenly had an enormous amount of peace rush over me as that baby and I eyed each other up and down. We immediately had an unspoken bond, a connection and a realization that his mother would have a great story to tell for years to come: The story of how her son barfed all over that nice lady on the plane.
And barf he did. He barfed like a champ and came out smiling. I helped the mother peel out of her barf ladened sweater and wet wiped the left side of my body. We laughed about barf and the fact that motherhood is truly 85% repulsive and 15% so awesome you think your head will explode. And how, sometimes, that 15% feels more like 100% when all the awesomeness collides and your perfect adorable (moderately clean) child is looking up at you with wonder (or is it glee?) in his eyes.
This wasn’t one of those moments.
And although the rest of the surrounding passengers were covering their mouths and slightly gagging at the sight of bubbling barfy banana this mother had a smile on her face. A smile of relief that all the stars crossed to seat her next to another mother who 13 years earlier caught foreign barf in her right hand and held it, casually.
But truthfully, it all just came down to a choice. I could have hated it, rolled my eyes, ignored her or I could recognize that I had the option to embrace the fact that I got to sit next to another mother on an airplane and HELP HER. I embraced the barf and it kind of made my week. I know for a fact it made hers and that felt good.
We had a moment. A magical moment of two moms covered in barf and laughing it off. That’s until her son pooped and all bets were off.
I didn’t get involved in that. Please, people. I have my limits.
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