Last week, Rosey had a mishap at supper.
She's just gotten to the point where she'll grab a bowl and wait for it to be filled up, then take it and sit at the table - beaming at the big kid duty - this time, something slipped and first there was a crash, and then a wail. Rounding the corner from the stove I saw her, spaghetti strewn about, a giant spot on her shirt, her little face going all red and twisty.
B was bending to tell her not to worry about the bowl when I shoved by him and knelt down.
'Baby, are you okay? Are you burned?'
She burst into tears. ' Is Accident!'
I had her out of her shirt and out of her footwear in seconds, (she had sauce all over her shoes as well) touching her belly gently, looking for any reddish spots. I didn't think it was that hot, but who knew? And now I had a half-naked crying little girl who needed reassurance that the sudden loud noise and the broken crockery weren't terrible things.
She was fine. B scooped up the spilt dinner in the dustpan (using it like a shovel - a smart move I wouldn't have thought of) while I rustled up some new jeans, a tshirt, and a (smaller and lighter) bowl for Rosey.
She sat, mollified, eating while B and I finished clearing up. "I didn't think to check her for burns." he said, upset with himself.
"I think it's a Mom thing. You're not the Mom - that's my job."
He still wasn't satisfied. "But I'm the Daddy. I should have known."
I opened my mouth to say (and quickly snatched it back) Why? She's not yours. She's mine.
Genetically, she is his - so much like him she makes me smile - but he didn't grow her. She is flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone, and the ties from that go deeper, are stronger.
I've been ruminating on this for a few days, trying to decide if this is a bit of mommy-rhetoric, or if I've always thought this and have just never had the words to say it to myself before.
But this isn't new. This feeling blossomed the first time I saw her, lines and tubes and smudgy black hair, wetly snuffling. Before she was born she was merely 'The Baby', something both B and I had made and that would grow (God willing) and develop because we had made it. It was a team effort.
But once she was born? When I was wheeled down to see her and I kissed her sleeping head and she yawned, fluttering those shockingly blue eyes at me?
She was mine. My baby. My flesh made.
And like flicking out a splinter or swabbing a cut (or any number of things that jolt us and make us sizzlingly aware of ourselves) her pain will always, ever, be mine.