Hot Firefighter Husband watched a spectacular space-science-nerd show called Cosmos the other night, and says he can’t wait for us to watch it as a family. The Diva and I were like, Um, sure, okay. Will it interfere with The Property Brothers?
He tried to explain to me the show’s importance.
Him: Imagine that the universe began on Jan. 1, and it took a year to fully evolve. Today is Dec. 31, eleven fifty-nine fifty-nine.
Him: Imagine the universe took a year to build, and right now is eleven fifty-nine fifty-nine.
Me: You’re not explaining this very well.
Him: Okay, you know how the universe started with a bang? Well, that happened on Jan. 1, and today is Dec. 31, and it’s eleven fifty-nine fifty-nine.
Me: You are not making any sense, and if you say eleven fifty-nine fifty-nine one more time I’m going to lose my fucking mind.
So he gave up on the science stuff, and in more palatable language, he explained that the show reminded him of a single person’s insignificance in the scope of universal existence. We’re all just specks, he said.
I’m not humbled by science like that, mostly because I don’t understand it. I can’t even get my head around why I don’t get dizzy as the earth spins. But it’s good to have topics or concepts that remind you of your place in the universe. My children keep me centered that way, and keep me from obsessing over the annoying WHO AM I? questions that make middle-class suburban moms gnash their whitened teeth. So the other day, the Diva snuggled up next to me on the couch, and reached her hand up to stroke my cheek. Sigh. She’s uber sweet that way. We sat that way for a few minutes, me with my arm around her while she stroked my cheek. Then her hand moved lower, and I thought, “No. No. Don’t do that,” but I stayed quiet so I wouldn’t spoil the moment.
Her slender fingers landed softly on my neck. My upper neck. On my wattle, I guess you could say. I have a little wattle, okay? With her fingers and thumb, she kind of caressed it. My head screamed, “NOOOO. NOOOO. PLEASE DON’T MAKE ME ACKNOWLEDGE THE FACT THAT I HAVE A WATTLE,” but my heart whispered, “She doesn’t care what it is. She’s just trying to be close to you.”
We stayed like that for an extra-long moment before I shifted positions and rested my head backwards so the wattle disappeared and her hand was just on my neck. I kissed the top of her shiny yummy hair. “I love you, Mom,” she said.
In that moment, I fully embraced my place in the universe, tiny though it may be, thanks to the attentive affection of one little girl who reminded me that one person’s wattle is another person’s soft place to land. That and a nice sip of gin can keep a girl’s feet firmly on Planet Earth, even as it spins in space and turns its inhabitants totally upside down.