She curls her body into mine, as tightly pressed as she can get. She is all flannel nightie and coconut shampoo and girl. They fight for space with Mom in the middle, each flanking me and claiming a side. He wraps one tiny arm around my belly and grins. It’s his favorite spot, tucked into my squish. He rests his chin on my arm and looks up at me through thick brown lashes. The kind girls dream of having and this charmer has gotten used to batting at me for “just 5 more minutes, Mama.”
I let the seconds drip lazily from the clock and push back worry that tomorrow will be full of grumpy overtired children because sometimes there’s magic in these moments. A few beautiful seconds when I can remember what it was like to be nestled on my mama’s lap, curled around the lullaby of stories told and dreams woven. And my words get softer as the story grows.
I can never tell them stories and expect sleep. Once there were words spoken over them and their eyelids would weigh with slumber and close softly to the world, but now they wait for each sentence and grasp hold, fighting back yawns for the end. The moment where the story will close and everything will make sense. The rights will be wronged. The hero will conquer. The wounds will heal.
She’s 10 and knows the power of redemption in a story. That to truly conquer anything there must be opposition, and the stronger the peril, the more interesting the story…