This heat makes their room so stuffy, I’m happy they can sleep, I couldn’t. She woke up once last night and from the sound of her cries, she needed something. Maybe just to brush the sticky hair off her face or maybe a drink of water, but for a moment, I held her in my arms. A soft light glowed from the other room through the cracked open door and she soon calmed. My favorite grey shirt, her security item by mistake was pressed gently to her mouth as she inhaled its smelly comfort. Sometimes she tries to share that with us and shoves it in our faces, and oh my, I wash it. Have you watched a baby when a cocoon of happy is built around them? Her breathing flutters and sinks into a rhythm like the perfectly crashing waves, it captivates you, consumes you and washes you with a blanket of tranquility; her body melts into my arms.
In the darkness and the lull of a fan only adequately serving its purpose, I see my boy stretched out across his bed, too hot for pajamas. His long arms and legs sprawled about as if he is lost in an adventurous dream of snugglebugs and boomjangle dins. In my arms, she’s mush with pursed lips and her wild eyes are calm under their lids. And it happens that her face is all of a sudden hours old, all puffy and new with that nose that immediately captured her father’s heart and soul. Do moments pass or was it just one blink, around me the world is swirling and blurry, except for this beautiful collection of skin and organs and life.
She’s brand new and then eighteen months old jumping from the coffee table to the couch, clearly uninterested in gravity and how it sneaks its way into our lives. She squeals, more catch and I half heartedly tell her no, but extend my arms anyway, because if you only saw her eyes after the jump. She is helpless and soft, wild and alive, determined and fearless, fragile and sweet. Life is a masterpiece of all these things and every bit is who we are always, all the brushstrokes and splashes of color, come together to tell our story. And yet, we are not doomed to be defined by the broken and dirty parts, because the best works of art have shadows. They are the most real. Shadows contrast the beauty and light.
I don’t wish for her to be one day old again, I truly don’t. Yet, in this moment, it’s hot and July and in the dark, I’m somewhere else on a cold January night. I return her to bed and close the door. As I walk the six steps to my room, I’m overwhelmed in the best way with life and all that is packed into those four average letters, it’s barely worth anything on the scrabble board. And still, it’s huge. Huge.
Look how far we’ve come and do you dare imagine all the places we’ve yet to go?