I thought it was just a dog thing. I don’t think it’s a secret that us canines do an awful lot of investigating with our noses. We rely on scent to figure out a lot of things people rely on sight for, and our noses are also capable of some pretty powerful things. Like when I knew something was up with mom before she even did when she first was pregnant with dear baby Carter. I have my nose to thank for that.
So the other day when it happened, it definitely caught my attention. While Carter is, for the most part, an angel, he too has his bad days. Days that come as a direct challenge for mom as she spends time trying to soothe him, feed him, get him to nap, etc.
It’s happened a little more frequently lately since recent estimates put his total teeth count up by at least four or five in the next few days. After a particularly taxing emotional day for mom and I (it’s never easy on either of us when there’s a lot of crying involved), dad was consoling an unusually crabby and irritable version of Carter when it happened.
Carter snuggled into dad in the special cuddly way he’s been doing more and more lately and I watched as dad sweetly smelled his little head as he snuggled him close. “Your head smells like mommy’s perfume,” he said, with an unspoken fondness for everything that meant.
It makes sense, of course, that his head would smell like my dear forever mom, since she spent the majority of the day comforting him in any and every way she knew how. So I watched her after she overheard dad say that. I saw the expression on her face as she processed the words. And it might be that she was tired from the long day she had, but I watched as a silent tear fell down her cheek.
I knew in that moment exactly what she was feeling. Not only because I sometimes think I know her better than I know myself, but because I’ve come to know some new things about my mom since Carter’s been around. That silent little tear was not a tear of sadness. Or exhaustion. Or frustration. It was a tear of joy.
Those simple words were a reminder that everything she did that day was not in vain. Though the crying carried on, she did everything she could to make it stop. And, in reality, she wouldn’t trade the time holding him to calm him down for the world. The time he cried into her chest was special in its own way, I know, because there will be a day when she longs to comfort him and won’t be able to. He will be all grown up and perhaps have children of his own to look after at that point.
That’s why even the most challenging days are worth living. It may take a little sniffing out, but there is always, always, a silver lining.