“How did Nikki handle it?” Andy asked laying next to me in bed.
“I don’t know?” I thought. “She didn’t really ever say anything. I used to wonder if she even saw it?”
“How could she not see it, we all saw it!” He laughed.
And we did. We all saw it. We all saw the mustache on her 11 year old son’s face.
Not a purposeful, iconic, Freddie Mercury mustache, but a sparse, yet at the same time long, catch me outside how ’bout dattttt sun catching those wiry strands of intense puberty mustache kind of mustache.
Now, at the time my kids were still small, and I was oblivious to the hormonal hellscape before me. It was easy to sit there and wonder, no but for real, do you see the dark shadow above the lip of your tiny cherub, because we all see it and he’s stroking it while he talks to us.
A habit, I’ve decided, that is some sort of leftover evolutionary thing. If there’s hair there, guys have to touch it.
But now that I am here, in this place of puberty and change, I will concede to the blind spot.
Thankfully, I’ve prepared for this day.
I made a pact with my fellow mom-of-son friends; if one of our kids gets to the point that the unsettling, uneven, hombre colored, kinda creepy mustache needs to go, we’ll quietly tell each other.
Last weekend, I got the mom-bat signal. A gentle hand on my arm and a squeeze, “it’s time,” she whispered with a nod.
“What? No.” I shook my head. “I’m not going to hand my infant 12 year old son a razor and show him how to shave off part of his face!”
“He can barely spread peanut butter, and now I’m supposed to give him a weapon?” I breathed into the paper bag.
“Clearly,” I snipped, “You need your eyesight checked.”
There it is. The mom blind spot. My friends saw a mustache. I saw an ultrasound.
Of all the changes and loosening of my hand in his, I’m mourning this one in excess.
Will he still cuddle with me, he’s the only one who really does? Will he hug me less in public, and will his words fade away to grunts?
Andy took him to the store, returned to our bathroom, and laid out the supplies. I stayed in bed reading a book.
I could hear them laugh hysterically, and Andy seemed to be truly enjoying this time with our toddler son, more so then when I asked him to talk about pubic hair, or wet dreams.
I didn’t want to ruin this for either of them, but it left a dent. Even now typing this, ugh, fat tears.
We have three children, and Jude is the most sensitive. He can read a room. I see so much of me in of him.
I remember being a kid and sensing the temperature change when my parents would fight, or my dad would be getting upset or my mom was sad. I’d start mundane conversations to try and make them feel special and like everything was okay. I performed plays of normalcy for an audience of two for years and years, and now I’ve handed off my Oscar to the not-quite man wandering around the house.
A boy who, with the sensitivity of a trained service dog, smells anxiety rise in me, and plops down beside me to snuggle in. A kid who sees me get frustrated and grabs my phone and plays “Sleep on the Floor” by the Lumineers because he knows it’s my favorite.
He orbits around me to show me he loves me, and selfishly, I’m afraid to lose that.
I matched his smile when he emerged from the bathroom, and we marveled at his smooth lip.
“Damn, son.” I laughed.
“Dad said I wouldn’t have to do this for another month or so at least, because my hair is so light.” He said, sounding bummed.
I nonchalantly exhaled through every pore.
“Yes.” I nodded, “You are fair like me, and not dark and brooding like your hairy father, so you should be good for a while.”
“Can I read to you?” He asked.
“Jude, you don’t have to read to me, seriously, go play video games with your friends or something.” I assured him. “I’m fine”
“Nah, I’d rather read in here.”
He climbed up on the bed next to the dog, opened Goblet of Fire, and began reading out loud.
He shaves and still reads Harry Potter with me. Okay. On to the next blind spot.