I know I sound like a horrible mother for saying this, but I don’t believe in eating or drinking after children. I love them dearly, but they can usually serve as incubators for all kinds of cooties. The whole backwash thing can be an issue, too. I remember watching Viejito drink happily from my straw for the first time. My heart warmed over to see him so happy. After he drank his fill, he pulled the cup away from his lips. A long, thin strand of saliva clung to the straw while maintaining its connection with the corner of his mouth. He shrieked, gleefully oblivious to the fact that he was still attached to the straw by way of spit. Yuck.
Had someone’s life depended on it, of course I would have drunk from the straw without hesitation. Thank God, that wasn’t the case. I looked at the cup of leftover smoothie with longing clutching at my taste buds, almost forcing me to violate my no-sharing rule. But there had to be a way around it. The clear cup was still half full, its contents of strawberries and banana all swirled together teasingly. Then it dawned on me: why not just take the lid off and drink straight from the cup? That’s what any logical person would think, that is, until they actually opened the cup and leaned in for closer inspection.
The strawberries and banana had been joined by a new and uninvited ingredient: peanut butter. Now I have a pretty adventurous palate. If the peanut butter had come straight from the jar, that would have been a pretty awesome smoothie. Like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with banana slices on it, only without bread. But I knew where that peanut butter came from. When Viejito opened his mouth to laugh (almost as though he understood the severity of my dilemma and was mocking me) and I could still see a small amount of peanut butter on the roof of his mouth. Remnants of lunch left unswallowed. And part of it was in my smoothie. Needless to say, that smoothie became acquainted with the nearest trash receptacle pretty quickly.
Fast forward about ten years: I am sitting at my desk sipping on water. I am not sure why, but something beckoned me to look into the cup. I was horrified by what I saw. There was no way this was possible. I’m an adult, for crying out loud! But as clear as day, I saw them. Crumbs lay smugly in the bottom of my cup, staring back at me with satisfaction. After all these years of sticking to my no-sharing rule, suddenly I was the one that no one should drink behind. I was deeply humbled in that moment, though not quite enough to consider writing that rule off the books. There had to be some logical explanation. Could the crumbs have been grabbed from my lips rather than having been a product of backwash? Hopefully. And for now, I am holding firm to that.