Shoveling Skunk (from The Batmom September 2012)

Shoveling skunk should be the phrase kids use for eating vile school cafeteria food, or the lingo 2012 election watchers employ when discussing lying liars lying. But it’s not.

I shoveled a skunk into a trash bag just before 10 p.m. last night.

I performed poorly, but the road kill skunk did worse, flopping about all bloody and smelly.

My friend Miz A, who fearlessly led our mission, suggested I grow a pair. I have many a pair, but none of them are testicles. Switching gender appeal, Miz A reminded me I had birthed two babies, surely a more strenuous and overwhelming experience than shoveling skunk.

I explained that while birthing, I took drugs and I did not look until my children were out.

(Would you like to look in the mirror, asked the doctor? No you *@$)**@, I would not like to look in the mirror. My vagina is not taking a powder break, it is birthing a baby.)

Drug-less and open-eyed, I grabbed hold the shovel handle while Miz A pushed Mr. Floppy aboard, onto the shovel. Then we dumped him into the trash bag. Rather, she dumped him into the trash bag and I unhelpfully flapped the edges of the trash bag and said “Eeee-ew!” a bunch of times.

I suggested we taxidermy him, dress him in a t-shirt that says “Salem: A Bewitchingly Good Time,” and mail him to The Bloggess, but Miz A put him in her garbage can and pushed it out of sight.

This is a gross blog post, the bit about the dead skunk and that disturbing digression in which I discuss my vagina looking in the mirror.

But you know, I’m a mom and I’m afraid Mr. Floppy was too. Just the other day, I saw the tail end of a baby skunk scurrying behind a neighbor’s recycling bin. I am now fretting about the baby skunk, about who will butter her toast and pack her lunchbox and put not nearly enough money in her 529. About who will love her.

Because once you’re a mother, after the pushing and the swearing and the drugs, and in spite of the laundry and the dishes and the noise, you would throw yourself in front of a car for your babies. And maybe Mr. Floppy did, just moments before Miz A and I came upon his gag-awful smelly carcass.

While every mother I know would throw herself under a car, we also fear death more than we ever did before kids. (I’ve had 98 diseases since 2005. Blame my kids. And Google.)

We fear death because we’re the mothers; no one does toast and lunch and insufficient 529s like we do.

We fear death because we love our stinky little skunks, even when they crawl into our beds at 2 a.m. and kick our heads and steal our covers and siphon our intelligence; our sanity, even.

We fear death because we want to see our children grow up, we want to help them grow up, and we want a lifetime of chances to make up for the many ways we’ve screwed up.

I could go on, but I’m going to go kiss my sleeping kids instead. And if I see any little skunks trash-diving around the neighborhood, I’m going to shut my eyes and walk on by.