I want to share with you a small fact about destiny that I bet you didn’t know: it has been fated since the beginning of all time that I would have a Mexican child. There was no getting around it. If you think I can make up this fate, keep reading.
There is an old wives’ tale that newborn babies smell like something really special. It’s not the shampoo, or lotion, or anything you use around the baby, it’s just the way the baby himself smells. One night while I was lying next to the baby I took a good long sniff of his hair. It was very strange to me to discover that the old wives’ tale brought out three distinct phases of terror in me. The terror was that fate is real. The Greeks were right. You cannot outrun your destiny, not ever.
Phase One: It was TRUE. What other pieces of wisdom have I foolishly dismissed over the years just because I didn’t see empirical evidence to back the claim? Why was I dismissing the information that may not have been based in science as I understand it but had historical and cultural implications? Oh god. Was I not a feminist because I demanded a hypothesis of behavior rooted in the physical or social sciences and that avenue clearly wasn’t open to women when this wisdom began and oh my lord have I abandoned everything it means to be a woman in a misguided attempt to be a jaded humanist???
Wow, your imagination can run away with you when you’re tired and emotional. I didn’t shit all over the sisterhood, I just didn’t believe babies have a unique smell. Now I do. But that brings me to the second issue:
He smelled, I am not making this up, like crunchy and butter cinnamon-y goodness to me. My first thought was “toast!” I probably thought that because, and my thoughts on this are well documented, I really, really love toast. I think toast is fantastic. Plus that would even make sense, because my mom used to make me special cinnamon toast when I was a kid, I associate it with mothering and love, and blah blah blah. But the baby didn’t smell exactly like toast to me. He smelled like _________. Oh, man. OK. I’ll try again. He smelled like a, uh, uh, a…. ________________.
He smelled exactly like a —————. This is terrible. I can’t do it. Please don’t make me do it. Uh, OK. Bravery. Peace. Inner calm. What would Leslie Knope do? Boldness. Honesty. Integrity. Just say it.
He smelled precisely and utterly like a churro to me.
This was a nightmare. Did it make me racist? Am I insane? Have I somehow transposed memories of a time when I was in Mexico to having this Mexican child and then it all got swirled in my brain? Have I had a stroke? Am I dying? Nope. There’s no way of getting around it. That kid smelled like churros. He did. I was the only one that could smell it but I stand by my madness.
Which brings me to the third point, the hilarity of my fate. Before I met Mac, I dated a man from Mexico. We met there and had only seen each other in person in Mexico although we had a long distance romance for awhile. He was the major relationship I had in my early 30s. I’ll call him Juan, because if I tell you his real name everyone in all of Mexico will be able to find him. His parents had a hippie streak and gave him a name that would be as distinctive in Mexico as Moon Unit Zappa or Blue Ivy Carter is here. Juan is a great guy, it’s just that he needed to live in Mexico where his heart is, and I needed to live in the US, where
my heart is. Sorry, I don’t like to lie. Ireland is where my heart is. However the fact remains that my job, family and psychiatrist all live here and that, especially the last, is not insignificant. Juan had a house in Mexico but living there wasn’t right for me. So we parted and it hurt but we moved on and remain friends.
The hilarity is this: I ate churros quite a few times with Juan. They are damn delicious and go great with hot cocoa. Maybe I did make a subconscious connection. Maybe I do like cinnamon. Maybe I have a serious smelling disorder linked to motherhood and I should ask my psychiatrist about it. One glaring, ridiculous fat fact remains:
I broke up with a Mexican man, to live in the US. In the US I married a Canadian. The Canadian and I have a Mexican son.
You can’t fuck with fate, people. I was gonna have a Mexican kid no matter what. And he DID smell like churros. So there.