I brought her animal crackers wrapped in a paper napkin. She wanted the lights off, the door open. Mary Poppins was on the Kindle, Zach’s headphones on her ears, a cup of water on the bedside table next to her. She was propped in bed with multiple pillows, snuggled under blankets as the first snow of the season fell outside her window. As I walked out of the room, words that had resonated with me earlier came back into focus: “I can’t protect you from the world, but I can make sure that home is your safe place.”
Late Friday night I returned home from dinner with girlfriends to find Wyatt still awake. I scooped him up and he flung his arms around my neck. “I was sad,” he said. As I carried him up the stairs and back to bed, this quote rattled around in my tired brain: “Millions and millions of years would still not give me half enough time to describe that tiny instant of all eternity when you put your arms around me and I put my arms around you.” –Jacques Prevert
Mia was upset when I wasn’t chosen to chaperone her class on a field trip earlier in the fall. As I was tucking her in to bed, her voice caught in her throat when she said, “I’m going to miss you tomorrow.” When I pointed out that her best friend’s mother was going to be on the field trip, I said, “That’s like the next best thing.” She said, “But you’re my first best thing.” And I was once again reminded of the sweet spot we’re currently inhabiting.
During Luke’s preschool parent-teacher conference, I glanced down at the notes his teacher had written as we were talking and saw this: “Wonderfully sweet disposition. Loving and kind.” I knew this, of course, but sometimes when you’re steeped in the everyday routine with twins — maybe especially same-sex twins — their individual lines blur. But this boy. He is sunshine and shadow; a buoyant bubble that trails my most mundane days. I’ve always thought of him as our bonus baby, the one who came along for the ride, and I often think of the line from Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible: “But the last one: the baby who trails her scent like a flag of surrender through your life when there will be no more coming after – oh, that’s love by a different name.”
There is no structured essay here, no profound lesson, no parallels to be drawn, no moral to the story–only these slices of life that I want to hold onto. And maybe, just maybe, this will be enough to get me writing here again.