when I go into their room to check on them I see her bed is empty. I look to his, and see that they're both there.
I lift her up, her tiny body floppy with sleep; lay her head on her fresh pillowcase, the one she calls her 'snow pillow' with faded white and blue flowers. she snuggles up on her side. I tuck the blanket around her and stand back.
my eyes flick from one bed to the other. each child sleeping beneath their matching patchwork of flowers. I can't look at them long enough.
this time, with their still sweet smells and their joy (hers) and tolerance (his) of nursery-type things is limited. soon their side-by-side pastel beds will be replaced by star wars motifs and things that are pink.
for me, this has been the best time.
even though -- or maybe because -- to a large degree there has been no me. there's been only this: their version of me, my version of them.
I go back and kneel down between their beds just to listen to them breathe.