Last night, at about 4:30 AM, I got up, got a glass of water, relieved Ralph from his cramped sleeping position with cuddle-greedy Nels, stroked and settled The Boy back down, then came back to bed. As I crawled into the sheets next to my firstborn I heard her say something. “What’s that, Sophie?” I whisper (I love hearing the members of my family when they sleep-talk). “I need you,” she says, her voice soft and sweet. She was talking to someone in her dream, not to me. “I want to hold you.” A beat later, so soft I almost couldn’t hear it: “You’re my friend.”
In her voice there was no begging, whining, or demand; she was the simple tender spring tendril of love.