I hold you, my darling daughter, in the dark. I can hear your breathing, blindly seeking me out, mouth open and expectant. I am all instinct and no real thought aside from a desire for sleep and the knowing that the way back to bed lies through this 2am feeding.

This is when I am most your mother.

When the house sleeps and small chests of growing boys rise and fall in time to the soft snoring from your father, I am awake with you. We rock and rhythm our way back and forth and into one another, warm food quietly given and received under cover of the radio station that accompanies this nightly dance.

You drink and sigh and cough and shuffle your feet into the crook of my arm. I watch and stroke and try to keep eyes open only to discover they’ve closed without my knowing. Back and forth the yellow rocker sighs, my bare feet pushing off from the warm rug now and again.

Crickets, sometimes I hear them too.

You are content to linger. I want to wish you would hurry while also wanting to wish you would stay this way forever. This small, this fit-into-the-crook-of-my-arm perfect, this everything I am not, but must have been once upon a time.

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This is when I am most your mother.

Your hand lies in my hand and small fingers curl tight and clenched around it. When I try to move to wipe hair out of my squinting eyes, you startle and squeeze all the tighter. I realize it is my hand that lies in yours.

And we sit in wordless wonder of one another.

A cathedral of praise in this small brown in between room.

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