Essay Non-Fiction posted January 9, 2019

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An indelible memory


by Marisa3

This particular memory is all mine, as my son was a mere thirteen months old when the incident occurred.

We were visiting friends in Maine and after a long day of sightseeing, we decided to stop for dinner. I placed my son, Michael, in a highchair and gave him some crackers to keep him occupied. Even at a young age he had a very healthy appetite and would get out of sorts very quickly when hunger hit him.

We ordered our meals, which consisted of home-style cooking, i.e. chicken mashed potatoes, etc. When the food arrived, Michael had gone through his crackers and was anxious to have his food. I was trying to have a conversation with my friend, so in order to calm him down, I took a fork full of mashed potatoes and stuck them in his open mouth, not actually looking directly at him as I did this.

All of a sudden I heard him kicking the highchair, so I turned to see what was wrong and to my horror, I saw my son grabbing his hair with both hands as he rocked back and forth in excruciating pain. His little face was beet red and he stopped short of having steam coming out of his ears. I immediately grabbed for a glass of milk and poured it into his mouth. He was hurting so bad that he could hardly take a breath. I felt awful. It must have felt like a mouthful of napalm. I was so busy visiting that I did not take the time to test the food before giving it to him. He was in one of his "I'm starving" moods so I just tried to get the food in him as fast as possible.

As one can imagine, he was not so keen on eating the rest of his dinner, but that was only natural since I'm certain his mouth and tongue were seared. Once things calmed down a bit he was willing to try and eat more food, but when I began to feed him, he would not accept any food from me before he stuck his finger in it first. Even for one so little, he had already arrived at the decision that his mother was a moron, so he left nothing to chance. For the rest of our trip and for a period of time afterward, he would stick his finger out to test the food if I was feeding him. He didn't care if it was something from the stove or Jell-O, he was not about to let me near him without first touching whatever I was offering (fool me once ...). The kid was a quick study and a natural born skeptic and both have served him well in his life. He eventually did learn to trust me again, but it took some time.

This is a memory that has stuck in my mind for a lot of years. I felt like the world's worst mom. My son has always had an extraordinary memory, so I'm certain his little mind logged this incident somewhere in the archives of his gray matter. It is my fondest hope that he is never able to call it up, especially when he is deciding what to do with me in my senior years. Who knows, he might get the chance to return the favor one day if I ever need to be fed. I am hoping to dodge that particular bullet, but if I can't I will at least avoid mashed potatoes.

Parenthood: An indelible memory writing prompt entry
Writing Prompt
Describe a memory, a lesson taught or learned, or a moment shared that will stay with both parent and child forever.

Prose only. No minimum or maximun word count.

My son was very impatient as a young child when it came to his appetite. When his tummy alarm went off he wanted to be fed immediately and he would let me know in no uncertain terms. I had not expected the food at the restaurant to be so piping hot. So, definitely my bad that the kid got the shock of his life. He managed to grow up to be one terrific young man in spite of his occasionally careless mother. Parenthood is not for the faint of heart. It is one hell of a long on the job training program. These little creatures do not come with a set of instructions, so from day one it is total improv on the part of parents. However, I would not take back one second of the time I spent raising my children. And as my reward I now have three beautiful grandchildren that I can spoil and send back to their parents to be raised.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by VMarguarite at

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