The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Thursday, March 27, 2008



Who knew drool could say so much?

I was born with a clean face and a reasonably shaped head. However, my “Baby’s First Photo” shows a child with one beautiful cheek and one severely blemished by self-toxic drool.

It was my initiation into a society that praises outward appearance. The visitor arrives at the hospital and is barely able to get out the “What a cute baby!” before the corners of her mouth drop, then move back upward, but the eyes show it all.

I was lucky that neither scarred me for life.

When I was ten years old, nature’s glue was exemplified by the substance of icky happiness. It meant a tennis ball saturated with slobber, dropped at my feet by my dog, Misty, who kept her eyes transfixed on it until I would pick up that ball and throw it until my arm was too tired to do it again.

That drool spoke of the ease of happiness and the desire to exhaustively recreate that feeling for both of us.

When I was in my twenties, drool meant some drunken guy unsuccessfully trying to pick up on me at a dance club, spit flying in places it had no right to travel. Since I had so much independence, free will, and choice -- this time of life was about weeding out whose drool I wanted on me.

I finally found him and was rewarded with a wonderful husband.

In my thirties, I had two kids and this was my first jump full-on into the pool of drool. The quantity itself was overwhelming, and I was like a salivation magnet. Smelly drool, sticky drool, colored drool.

Since it was unavoidable, this drool was used more as an evaluation of the development of my babies, both physically and mentally. Are they teething? Does that amount of drool indicate a mental problem? Eventually they grew out of the drool and became beautiful boys.

Now, as I age and bear witness to my grandmother in her fog of Alzheimer’s, I cannot help but let my thoughts wander to the possibilities of old drool.

Staring out the window, drool hanging out of my own mouth, my grown men by my side, a hand brushed across a face blemished with life, yet hopeful that I have enough of my faculty to picture that dog, ears flapping in the wind, pink tongue wagging, hell-bent on getting that ball again.

By Jennifer O’Shaughnessy


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I love the reflective turn you take at the end. Great last line.

Your essay definitely makes me think about the cycle of life and helps me laugh at something as basic and often gross as "drool". I loved the picture of the multi-colored drool -- it brought back some vivid memories!
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