Thursday, July 17, 2008


At half past midnight, I crept into the dark room.

In the glow of the moon, I could barely see them. One curled up like a little ball, his face pressed against the side of the pack-and-play; the other sprawled out on the big bed, looking so much longer than I remembered him. They were wearing their striped pajamas, the only matching set of clothes I’ve ever bought for them.

I laid down on the big bed, trying to take up as little space as possible so that I wouldn’t disturb him. Creaky floors, creaky bed springs, and then finally quiet again, only the swooshing of the ceiling fan interrupting the silence.

Several hours later, as he was changing position in his sleep, his hands brushed against my shoulder. He froze for a second; then his hands moved again, trying to figure out the obstacle in his way. When the hands reached my hair, so much thicker and curlier than his grandma’s or aunt’s, he finally said, “Mommy! Mommy, it’s you!” “It’s me, baby.” “I’m so glad you are here.” “Me, too, baby. Let’s sleep now.”

Several more hours passed, and when the sound of the fan could no longer muffle the songs of the birds outside, the pack-and-play next to the bed began to move. Its little occupant was tossing and turning, eventually giving way to soft coos. As I sat up on the bed, he looked at me cautiously, and as I stood up and approached the pack-and-play, he began to cry. After a week away, he did not recognize me. But as I leaned down to pick him up, he stopped crying. “Hi, baby. It’s me.” When I picked him up and held him, his whole body literally melted into me. Every minute or so, he would lift his head off my chest and look inquisitively at my face, as if to confirm it was still me. Then he would smile and lower his head back down.

As I stood there, I wondered how my heart could keep from bursting when it was so full of love.