This morning, as happens every morning around here, I am awakened by the sounds of my son crankily surfacing into consciousness. I nudge my husband and he sleepily arises from our bed (he gets up with the kids every morning and don’t think I don’t thank the Lord for that extra hour and a half of sleep!). He moves down the hall and picks up Nels; moments later I here the percussive sounds of my three-year old pattering down the hallway to my room. I stretch and move to clear a space for her while she climbs up the bed and over the comforter. She slides in next to me and twines her little arms around my neck and pets my face and hair before slipping her thumb back into her mouth. We fall back asleep together. Her hair smells good and in her sleep she settles further, her little legs hooked on top of mine.
After we sleep a bit, sometimes she surfaces before me and will lift up my shirt to put her feet on my tummy, or will kiss me on the mouth in hopes of me waking. Sometimes when she wakes she is impatient and whispers, “I’m going to go see Daddy okay?” before sneaking out of bed. This morning it is I who wakes first. I sneak away and leave her on her own, her lashes dark on her cheeks, her hair spilled out in every color of honey. When I watch her sleeping like this I think of the Leonard Cohen line, “your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm”. She is so strong and long-limbed, more beautiful than any daughter I could have created in my dreams.