Lying in bed, I imagined I could feel Ailis lying with me, the warm weight of her body stretched down the length of my back, one little arm flung carelessly over my shoulder, her sticky-sweet hand hanging in my face; and I curled myself around the place where No-No should have been sprawled, with a faint frown on his face, sleeping the sleep of the just...
And I thought about the miracle of breath, moving in and out of lungs, of blood running swift and sure through veins. I thought about the rise and fall of a seven-month-old's round little belly, and of glossy curls brushed back from a two-and-a-half year old's smiling face. I thought about the work that was begun in me, but never finished, like a length of knitting that came undone. All of the vast potential that was present and waiting inside of them, needlessly and wastefully lost, like an acorn planted, rooted, and then too quickly dug back up. The potential for greatness, for annoying habits, for creativity. The potential for courage, and rebelliousness, and love.
As I thought these things about my children I held myself very still, so as not to disturb their imagined forms beside me. And for a long time I could not sleep. But it was a sacrifice, of sorts. It was discomfort for their sake. It was an opportunity to parent -- even if it was all in my head. And for this one night, it was enough.