Chipping Polish

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I am down to the last drops of my Rainkissed Leaves sample size shampoo that came in a gift set at the hospital. It is a scent that takes me back to that first rough post-pregnancy shower. It is the scent of your first few months–the weeks of hasty showers and trying to sing to keep you entertained so I can finish shaving my legs. When I looked down in the shower today, I noticed again that my toenail polish is chipping; I haven’t painted my toenails since the night before you were born.

I didn’t paint my toenails much during pregnancy. Toward the end it was quite a feat. But when I did, I put Borrowed and Blue on them. It is a pale blue shade–a baby blue. Once we found out you were a boy, the students always associated it with you, and I did too.

The night my water broke and I found out we had to go to the hospital the next morning, I repainted my toenails that baby blue. I was dreaming about you. I was completely nervous. Your dad and I talked while I sat on my yoga ball trying to paint my toenails. I remember us laughing at my attempts to paint, and your dad even offered to do it for me. There I sat with my bulging belly, propping my foot against the coffee table. Afterward I rocked and rocked on that ball, praying for you and for us. I can’t remember if I managed to do two coats or not.

That paint was on my toenails as we nervously checked into the hospital. It was there during sixteen hours of labor and when I first gazed into your blue-black eyes. I looked down to see Borrowed and Blue as we gave you your first bath, my feet cold against the white tiles of the kitchen floor. It has been there as I pull up the covers over my feet and snuggle you next to me at night.

When I repaint my toenails–such a simple thing ultimately!–something will be gone. The last thread that binds me to the hours before I knew you will be severed with one swipe of that tiny brush. I’m not scared to move on with our lives with you, but I feel like I need that one connection to myself before I became your mother, if nothing else as a reference point. It reminds me of the days when putting on makeup and folding laundry were easy tasks, but those were the days when I didn’t have your smile.

I finally have had a little time in the past week as you have learned to sit and play for short stretches of time. I could repaint my toenails. But it seems so symbolic. That chipping polish shows me your growth in a strange way. It is the vestige of our days of waiting on you–our last day at home without you, the day before we would see your face. That chipping polish is from the glorious summer–the summer we waited for you and welcomed you.

You’re almost three months old. My toenails are a disgrace at this point. But you’ve grown so fast, and time is passing so quickly, and I feel like I need an anchor.

I have considered letting it chip off organically; that would be easiest in many ways. It would enable me to have that visual of your growth. It would allow me to let time slip away slowly instead of rushing it on. You are getting so big, and I barely remember what it felt like to hold you as a newborn. But that growth is so, so good! And as we get to know the lovely little boy that you are, we can’t imagine our lives without you.

If I have time tonight, I am going to repaint my toenails. But they will still be Borrowed and Blue. It’s not really an autumn shade, but I don’t know if I will be able to use another color for quite some time.


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