Today was a good day. Cool misty morning. Breakfast by the window with my son Hugo sipping his ginger tea with honey from a teaspoon. We walk to the park in the chilly breeze. My wet hair plastered to my neck. Hugo wore a baby blanket as a cape. He ran toward me, a smile rounding plump cheeks, a staggering liveliness as his arms and legs move and sway beating out a rhythm on the earth. I hear him breathing hard as he runs and imagine his lungs like two sails on a ship, blown back and filled with air and life. I pick him up and hug him so tightly whispering in his little ear, “I love you so much. You are a treasure.” He whispers back, “I are!” before wiggling down and running away.
This morning I woke with my body ready to move. Toes and fingers vibrating with grief and worries for the future both inevitable and the imagined. I can’t always tell first thing in the early morning dark which is a real fear and which is an imagined one. I’m interrupted from my worrying by little footsteps scampering fast through the dark and Nola is all cold limbs and marble toes. No words to be spoken. I pull her into the warm bed and I’m grateful to be free of myself for a moment. I draw her body in tight and close, the long legs and arms mirroring my own. Her curly hair tickles my nose and I breathe in her sleepy inhales and exhales.
Next, come the plodding dinosaur footsteps of toddler. His diaper swishing and crackling around his thighs and a half hearted moaning cry. For some reason, he is holding a guitar. He sets it down as he climbs into bed snuggling between his big sister and me, fishing around in the sheets for her hand before pulling it into his chest, a limp and injured bird. She sleeps on. He whispers to me to “tell a dory mama.” This is his constant request lately. Stories with a revolving cast: wicked witch, good witch, princess, dragon. I try to think of something new to tell, my brain still half sleeping and settle on the story of a little boy given fish gills by a wicked witch. I touch my throat and imagine the accordion movement around my chin. The expansion of underwater clouds. Air to be extracted. He likes the story and briefly he falls back into sleep. His breathing deep and long, his eyes flutter and blink.
I feel the weight of their little forms holding me firm in the present. My two little anchors. This feels like truth. All I love most in the world contained in a soft sheeted lifeboat, lifted from the world below. Floating, safe, and quiet. I forget for a moment about everything outside. Not wanting to move and unable to sleep, I feel this moment suspended, frozen in glass, and I would stay forever.