Like most mothers-to-be, my dreams have been bat shit crazy. To keep you thinking less of me I’ll spare you some of the real doozies, but I will tell you that more than once a week I have that dream where I give birth to something resembling a gremlin. That, or I birth a child with T-Rex arms. I kid you not. That one comes up quite a bit.
These dreams happen so often that during my last ultra sound, I kept asking the radiology tech (in a very suspicious “YOU KNOW SOMETHING I DON’T KNOW” voice) “So everything [insert a checklist of items including, but not limited to, a finger, toe, limb, eye, nose, and mouth count] looks fine then, right?”
Interestingly enough, though, I’ve yet to ask the tech if she’s been able to get a good close-up of the kid’s knuckle count.
That’s right. If you don’t already know (by that I mean if I haven’t already shown you this while exuding a great deal of pomp and circumstance), I’m missing a knuckle. I actually think that the human race does not NEED that particular knuckle (I'm right handed and it doesn't impede on any day to day function of hand use...with the exception of maybe picking my nose...but who picks their nose with THAT finger anyway? We've got THUMBS for that.) However, DON’T TELL MY MOM THIS, because I’ve been milking this little gem for all it’s worth for the past 25 years.
You see, my mom beats herself up over the fact that I have this small hand deformity because she (unknowingly) smoked while pregnant with me. That, and she didn't actually KNOW I was missing a knuckle until I pointed it out to her one day while we were painting our nails together at the kitchen table. I think the conversation went something like this -
Me: Mom, why doesn't my knuckle pop up like yours?
We know, Mom, “NO ONE KNEW YOU WEREN'T SUPPOSED TO SMOKE BACK THEN!!!!” (Side note: my mother has not smoked for over 25 years. I'm guessing she quit about the time we had the above conversation.)
That said, let me be clear: I do not think her smoking had anything to do with this deformity, but when I’m trying to get under her skin about something – I mean REALLY give her a hard time - I’ll sometimes mime the action of smoking by taking a fake drag of a cigarette and setting the imaginary cigarette in the slot where the knuckle should sit…like it’s an ashtray.
Opportunities to pull out this crowd pleaser usually present themselves when my mom is giving me a hard time about something domestic, but lately these situations have been few and far between. I think because I’m giving her the grandchild she’s always wanted, she’s decided she’s got bigger fish to fry when it comes to worrying herself over my lack of domestic capabilities – like HOW WILL I KEEP SAID GRANDCHILD ALIVE?
Suddenly my inability to wash bath towels properly has taken a back burner.
I know, Mom. I KNOW. But don’t worry, Paul’s around to make sure the baby only drinks wine on weekends.
Ehem…anyway, secretly I’m kind of hoping that my kid is missing a knuckle. That way, when my child looks at me with his/her dark curly hair, brown skin and dark eyes and asks me if I’m REALLY his/her mother, I can say “Of course I am. I've given you my lack of knuckle. YOU’RE WELCOME.”
Because when my kid whips out that mime scene for her grandma? Well, that’s going to be proud moment for me, as I’ll know right then and there that I was able to throw a little something special my kid’s way…something I received from my own mother…something even more important than a four knuckle fist. After all, it’s not what you can or cannot physically do with 9 knuckles…it’s how you use it.