For the last two and a half weeks, I've been high. I'll admit it. Hello, I'm the Mom, and I'm addicted to sniffing baby heads.
Don't call for an intervention yet, most women are baby head addicts. We're built that way. I looked it up, and there are all kinds of pheromones coming off of my new guy's noggin that light up all the pleasure centers in my brain. It makes me want to hold him and smell him and just spend all day doing nothing but being his mom. (It's why I've neglected the blog. Sorry.) It's a pretty cool thing God designed there. Make baby holding a pleasurable experience for any woman who gets near the baby and you pretty much guarantee that the little guy is taken care of. My sweet husband just shakes his head when women take a big ol' sniff of #6. I guess watching a bunch of women getting high just isn't his thing.
We sniff our children. All women do. We breathe them in. For the whole of their lives we inhale deeply and then sigh whenever they are in our arms. I've seen elderly women clutch their middle aged sons and fill their lungs with the smell of their no-longer-little boys. These mothers are bonded to their children. Just the smell of her children can make a woman smile. It's a weird admission, but we sniff them.
Perhaps that's why the Pieta has been bothering me so much lately. I'm collecting art work to study this year and I keep coming back to this picture I have of Michelangelo's masterpiece.
I've read the theology of it, and studied carefully why it is sculpted the way that it is. I know that the Blessed Mother is displaying the body of her son to the world which is responsible for his death. We are meant to share in her sorrow and each other's guilt. It is a beautiful and haunting image. And it's wrong.
No mother would hold her dead child this way. She would not put him on display like a peddler with his wares. She would not haphazardly hold him as he slides off her lap.
She would clutch him to her. She would press his no-longer-tiny body as close to herself as she could get him. She would bury her nose into his neck and breathe deeply of him one last time. As her tears fell upon his face and streaked his cheek, she would inhale and smell one last time the particular scent of her little boy. It would not be a moment for all the world to see; it would be an intensely private and personal one between a mother and her beloved son. No matter how beaten, no matter how bloody, no matter how awful he appeared to other people, she would still need to hold him close and have him be, for one last moment, her baby.