I'm enjoying a tall stack of cinnamon raisin pancakes this morning in an outdoor neighborhood eatery that overlooks a little of the bay. Fellow breakfasters also brave the cold weather with me, refusing to accept this unseasonal chilly Memorial Day in Southern California. My friend and I chat about her cousin, a Marine serving in Iraq. He's especially on her mind today.
As she speaks, I absent-mindedly pour some more delicious maple syrup on my pancakes (nothing beats original maple flavor). Looking down I see the bottom two pancakes are completely submerged in syrup. Perfect.
There's a steady din of conversation around us, punctuated with seagull squawks now and then. Suddenly, a toddler's voice breaks out above the rest:
"Mommy! Mommy! I pooped! I pooped in the potty!"
He's a round little bundle with pink cheeks chilled by the crisp air. A small green cap atop his head says, "ARMY". He wears tan cargo pants and the feet inside his brown hiking boots stomp quickly toward his mother, who sits next to us at a table with an older woman and man. The teenage girl bringing him back to their table laughs loudly and claps.
Another man at a nearby table also claps. A woman joins in, a girl, another man. The applause makes the boy stop in his tracks. His mother stands up and goes to him, also clapping. A high pitched giggle bursts forth from him as mom picks him up and snuggles his face with hers.
She wears a dark green sweatshirt. It says, "Support Our Troops" on the back. As she settles him back in at the table, she sits down and I see, "ARMY" across the front of her sweatshirt. My friend and I wonder who has missed this joyous occasion, a father, a boyfriend, a brother, a son? All of the above?
A small boy's poops in the toilet - something we laugh about and take for granted; another event to write him about.