I love little things. All women do. We’re wired for it. It doesn’t matter what kind of little thing it is, just as long as it’s the smaller version of something larger (the exception being penises). Case in point, I was in a run-of-the-mill souvenir shop where I spotted a whole basket of tiny little Tabasco bottles about a half inch tall. I raced over to them and held it up between my thumb and middle finger and smiled. My head tilted to the side, my voice went up an octave and I said “look how cute it is!” I just knew I had to have it. I must take it home with me and make a little home for it. I wished I still had a doll house, and then I could put this little bottle of hot sauce in the pretend pantry. Then I tried to justify the purchase by pretending that I needed a miniscule bottle of Tabasco. The committee inside my head had an informal summit on the matter. It was decided by the Committee on Impulse Buying (CIB) that said bottle was not a timely purchase, as I was not formally planning any miniature Mexican fiestas.
The reason women find such pleasure in miniaturized things is because nature gave most of us this brain germ to trick us into taking care of babies and other needy little things. Baby people, baby animals, baby Tabasco, baby whatever. We’re drawn to babies. We’re such suckers. But what happens when the things get bigger?
I had my first baby 22 years ago, but before you think I’m all old and decrepit, just go take a look in the mirror. You’re no spring chicken either, you know. The first time I held him in the hospital I knew what love really was. There were no more questions in my life like: What am I here for? What’s life all about? How do I know what love is? All of the answers were snuggled in a blanket. Little feet, yellow skin, and big blue eyes. A little miniaturized person and he needed me more than anything.
Twenty-two years later, he’s all grown-up. His eyes are still bright blue, but his feet are size 13. He only needs me sometimes for problems that baffle most adults like, what do I do about insurance, where are my tax forms, and “will you tell me when birthdays are coming up?” But last week I got a call in the middle of the night from his girlfriend. They were in the E.R. and he had fluid on his brain. I knew the moment she said “emergency room” that I was going to get on an airplane and be with him. I had to. He was my little bottle of Tabasco and I simply had to have him with me.
By the time I got there, he had been released and diagnosed with Viral Meningitis and a hernia. Thank God it wasn’t bacterial meningitis, which is deadly. I stayed with them both and reminded him to take his pills. I also had other important jobs like making sure they remembered to take their rental movies back because $3.00 is $3.00 buddy! I bought them both a pair of winter boots, because you can’t go traipsing around Alaska in sneakers in October! But mostly, I was just there. I needed to be there just in case. I needed to be there for him and her. I needed to be there because, no matter how big he grows, he still needs me sometimes.