Thank you for bearing with me as I've been a little ordinary, lately. I've been a little taken up and worn thin. I've been sleeping late, ten minutes until seven and my husband is whispering in my ear, "I have to leave really soon."
I'm coming. I'm awake.
I always feel like there is a way out of this. That I'm waiting for a day that doesn't begin with being lonely and making oatmeal and stuffing diapers. I feel like I am on the verge of something, that if I'm just patient, I'll escape this. Someday, we'll drive to the coast and I'll say to my love, "Remember how small life used to be? Remember when you could never stay in the morning and we watched for you on the front porch in the sun, my face breaking and my nerves snapping? Remember when we were kids and I cried when you left me in the morning? How I wrapped myself around you and how I wasn't sure I would survive all day, and you in a belt and a tie. How you used to answer the phone and your fingertips were soft and repeating nonsense and numbers?"
I'm not sure what I'm waiting for, but sometimes I think I feel it coming up.
I played in the sun with my little darlings this afternoon. We threw handfuls of water into the air and the droplets were diamonds. The buckets were all bleached. The mold from under the wooden steps was starved into oblivion.
Louise and I sat in a rocking chair and I held her warm body against mine. We were sweating. Daddy and Scouty were buying ice cream and we waited for them. Louise pointed and talked at people passing by, the hair on the back of her neck sticking to her skin. She was glistening and her cheeks were pink.
I blew on her skin, on her shoulders and she relaxed in my arms. She smiled a little bit and tried her best to pucker her lips and blow, air passing between her big, goofy teeth. Her teeth are huge and crooked and they are so beautiful, I could cry. I blew on her neck and she held still and watched the sky, how there weren't any clouds.
We were so close, my baby and I. I held her like she was me. A year ago, I was full and aching with her, her roundness carving out a place in my body that would never heal. I was born with so much space inside of me, and she took the last of it and I don't want it back. She forever put out the light of my youth and I'll never have it again. I touched my nose to her cheek and she turned toward me. There was light all around her. All the world was my love, and her beautiful little cheek stuck to mine. I felt like she was inside of me, again. I was so close to her that she was all I could feel and see. She was everything, and I was made up entirely of my love.
People talk about how having kids makes us unhappy, that we're not fulfilled. They say that adults who live their lives without children end up happier and more secure. I contend that I accomplished everything I've ever dreamed in that small moment, holding my baby in a wooden rocker under a brutal day in July. I know what it means to die, and I'm not coming back. I am nothing, if not for my love.
Sometimes, I feel like I wake up and the world is a stinking mess, and then I look into the faces of my children and nothing exists. They are the reason for the sun and why people carved into the stone walls of caves. They are it. I know it. The world is shit, and my girls are beautiful. They make everything into light and beauty. Sometimes, I carry them to bed and I breathe their breath and I feel like I could live a thousand lifetimes and never have anything better. Their little fat arms around my neck.
I didn't turn on the air conditioning today, even though it was hot. I have freckles and tan lines in the summer. I like it. I look like a kid, like I have some life inside of me. Sometimes I like to be oppressed by the heat. I like to be driven outside, to be begged to lift the hem of my skirt above my knees.