Peacock Mama

So there we were, picking up a carton of apple juice at the grocery store.  I had baby bean in one arm and 5 bananas in the other; not quite rocking an impulse-buy scoop neck t-shirt with a giant picture of a peacock on the front.

Baby bean was 11 months old and just as she’s always been, she was a watcher.  So when an elderly couple bustled past us, I’m sure that my daughter watched as they paced back and forth past the yogurt.

It turned out that the couple faced the worst imaginable scenario for baby bean to compute.  They couldn’t find the milk.

Where’s the milk?”  The elderly gentleman searched his wife’s blank face, but she had no answer.

My daughter heard the desperation in the elderly man’s voice; she had witnessed their search and could feel their pain.  She knew her calling…her subject of excellence…she could make a real difference here.

But I too, am a watcher.

At first, I watched as my daughter’s gaze made its way from the elderly couple in matching green jackets, across the aisle, past the reduced-price yogurt and straight to my breasts.


I watched as her little mouth curled into a smile; jackpot!

The next moment was a flurry, as baby bean grabbed at the peacock on my t-shirt and peeled it away from my body.  The scoop neck was now more of a scoop chest.  My daughter took hold of a breast and held on tightly, wildly pointing at my chest with her free hand.

In dere!  Milk!  In dere!”

Did I mention that my sweet little bundle of joy’s got Volume?  She was shouting this mantra, on repeat, for anyone within a 2-mile radius to hear.

In that moment, standing with boobs on display in some kind of parallel universe milk-drama, a girl doesn’t have many options.

I couldn’t drop the baby.  Besides from the obvious harm that that would cause to bean, her little fingers were the only things keeping my breasts contained.

And I couldn’t drop the bananas.  Nobody likes bruised bananas.

So instead, I just smiled.

There I stood, Peacock Mama, smiling at what had become a rather shocked and confused elderly couple in matching green jackets.

I watched their faces intently.  I noticed their fleeting panic and awkwardness.  And then I saw their eyes start to smile, just beating their mouths to the mark.  Baby bean, an elderly couple and Peacock Mama with boobs on display; all offering nothing but smiles.  Big, beaming and real.

Because this was real.

My hideous peacock impulse-buy was (unfortunately) real.

My perfect bunch of bananas was (thankfully) real.

My social awkwardness and sweating palms were (understandably) real.

My daughter’s pride and innocence were (magically) real.

Because in all of our realness, as socially disarming and embarrassing as reality might seem, there really is always the option to smile.  Big, beaming and real.

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