It’s at least three in the afternoon by the time my son rises from bed. Our cosleeping years are finally (mostly! – and recently) over; both kids installed in their own beds after so many years. That said, Nels creeps into bed with me half mornings. While I make coffee and do my yoga and pitter-patter through the house, his tousled head is barely visible between the pillow and comforter and his frame stretches across the bed, just his long feet visible. There may be no greater pleasure in life than the sums of thousands of mornings, knowing my children rest safely.

So today I’m cooking up a tofu scramble and toasting seed bread, he pads into the living room. He is wearing red briefs and a lime-green tank top; bright colors against his skin that is always brown and sweet, even in the dead of winter.

Phoenix sets out plates and cloth napkins and forks. I toast the bread, in the oven, no toaster, careful not to burn myself on the hot stove element! While the kids giggle in the next room I assemble plates of hot food; the three of us curl up on the couch and queue up an old monster movie. They watch the movie, but I watch them. I am thinking of all the time I spent refusing to send them off somewhere, so they could eat well and sleep deeply and watch monster movies with their heads still tangled from sleep. Phee has indeed been to the college campus and back today, but their head bears the telltale tufted remembrance of wrestling with a pillow; like a much-younger child.

I have so many memories of countless such mornings, but something is going wrong now. The children are older, so much older. I realize that unless I am very careful, very mindful, my time with them will have passed like it was nothing at all. It is easy to be a kind and loving mother when I see that in no time at all they will no longer be here in my home under my wing.

Wrapping up my hair; I have to get dressed and off to a meeting. The kids are doing the dishes. The cats are starting to run afoot – they know Ralph will be home to feed them soon. My husband texts – dinner tonight? He is preparing for a journey; the kids and I will have a few days alone. But for now: the evening will fall soon, and into another lovely, dark and warm night. Placed in our home, safe with one another.

Nels, Godzilla