I remember a time, as a small child in elementary school, when my dad dropped me off in his Toyota station wagon (a car he would end up holding onto long enough that it eventually earned the nickname “The Sludgemobile,” but that’s another story). We pulled up to the school, and my nose was running profusely. Rather than have to take off running for the bathroom, my dad said, “Here, use my sleeve.” And I wiped all the snot onto his flannel shirt sleeve.
I bring this up because, even though my own child isn’t quite as old yet as I was when that particular incident occurred, it is nonetheless already very clear to me that it is the fate of fathers everywhere and for all time to end up covered in goop first thing in the morning.
Miles’s penchant for consuming bananas led to him leaving the house with a half-eaten fruit this morning. He had finished the banana by the time we arrived at daycare, its peel discarded on the seat beside him, and I scooped him up, carried him inside, and gave him a hug. Heck, he even gave me an extra hug today, wrapping his arms around my legs as I was leaving.
That additional hug really helped Miles maximize the use of my work clothes as a napkin. Once I was back in the car, I realized my shirt and pants were now covered in patches of banana goop. I tried to clean myself off as best I could, but I also have to admit that the stains felt a little like some sort of parenting badge.