serial monogamy

Last night I lay next to my son to help him sleep. He is happy to snuggle against me, but still awake. His voice softly sings, speaks to me in a language I don’t understand phonetically, but hear in my bones. I smell his curly, blonde head, still damp from the bath. I stroke his forehead and remember reading that babies’ fontanels heal at 18 months. 18 months! My youngest, my baby, no longer has a soft spot. His head is hard as my own, and I trace it under my fingertips, musing. I remember reaching down and feeling his head as I gave birth to him – just a few feet away, downstairs.

Hours later, I lay against my husband under quilts. We are on our left side and I am spooned behind him, stealing his seemingly endless reserves of bodily warmth. His right arm is draped backwards over me and his hand rests comfortably on my ass, and everytime I move he gives me a pat or a squeeze. He is only a few breaths away from waking up and trying to take sexual advantage of me, I can tell. I can smell his body, and it’s lovely. I think of how easily he wakes – for me, for the children – when I ask him to. In this moment I love him for his ability and willingness to be vigilant for the family. I love his strength, which he will not always have, his strength for us.

In the morning: Sophie has joined us in bed. It is 8 AM and Ralph and Nels have left for early morning errands. My daughter moves close to me and sighs. Her hand funnels up my sleeve. I know when I get out of bed she won’t wake crying, she will lie and wait for me to cook breakfast (polenta!). She and I will have a lovely morning together.

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