“Mommy, are birthmarks pieces of a mommy’s heart?”
We had just read books and said prayers after a conversation about beauty marks and freckles and moles. (“I’m going to count your freckles, Mommy. Wait, no, you have way too many.” This is true. I have A LOT of freckles.)
Her question made me pause for a second, knowing this sentiment sounded familiar — I just needed a moment to place it. And then I remembered.
Mia has a birthmark on the inside of her ankle. The technical term for this type of birthmark is called a cafe au lait spot, and for good reason. It looks like a coffee stain. (“Cafe au lait” is French for “coffee with milk”.)
In an instant, I remembered a conversation Mia and I had a couple of years ago regarding her birthmark. She wanted to know where it came from. How did it get there? I told her that when she was in my belly, she reached up at the last second with her tiny baby hands and ripped off a piece of my heart with her tiny baby fingernails to carry with her for always.
“But how did it get on my ankle?” she wanted to know.
“I guess because you didn’t have pockets on you at the time. You were in a hurry because you knew how excited I was to meet you and so you pressed it to your skin like a sticker and went on your way.”
I don’t recall ever revisiting this story until last night when I told her the same version. Considering that it’s scientifically unclear what causes birthmarks, is it really so far-fetched?