I slip in the darkness quietly, neither of you knowing. I grope along the wall for the switch and let the closet light peer through the louvered doors. The light cascades to the carpet like stair steps – my path to where you’re sleeping. I tiptoe, not really knowing whether or not you’ve actually finally fallen asleep. I see nothing stirring, no flurry of sleeper pajamas popping up in the darkness to greet me. I creep closer. Ah, the arms outstretched, all sprawled out, no consciousness of where you are in space. My eyes follow to your little feet and I wonder if your toes are still warm in those footies since your blankets are somehow more under than over you. Your little bellies rise and fall and I wonder whether a mama ever outgrows that held breath, that catch in her throat that clings until she sees for herself that her children’s lungs still continue to empty and fill in the night.
My own arm outstretches, my hands reaching just to touch your faces in your stillness. My fingertips barely brush your sleep-rosy cheeks, and like magic, all of the moments of fits and tantrums, pretending like you didn’t hear me, and the sometimes outright disrespect . . . all those moments melt away like snow on the pavement. And all I can see are the moments one of you said you wanted a hug or surprised me with your “I just need some Mama kisses!” All of a sudden, all I remember is you swinging as high as the treetops and that moment you shared with your friend (when I know you wanted that dress-up dress for yourself) and how hard we laughed when I tickled you. And how can I forget – those just-before-bed moments and how you had to hug each other just one more time and how sister-kisses on both sides of your cheeks still weren’t enough. As you let the day slip its way on out and you welcomed your night of dreams, I finally embraced the day for what it was.
I think on embracing tomorrow . . . now.