I sneak into your room in the early morning. The sound of the aquarium down the hall is the only sound in the stillness of the dawn and light is just beginning to spill through the warped pull-down shades that are supposed to black out the light. I glance at your faces as you lay snuggled up under your blankets, both of you clutching your favorite stuffed animals.
Monk, you like to lay on your belly when you sleep and your head is turned towards me. You lie so still I wait just a second to make sure you are breathing. I move closer to you and I take in the beauty of your face and gentleness that comes from sound sleep. I marvel at the outline of your body, underneath your blankets. You are getting taller (although not taller than your sister) and it’s not hard to remember how I used to cradle you in my arm in these same early morning hours just a few years ago.
I glance over at you, Swee’Pea and take in the softness of your cheeks. You like to sleep on your side and as you clutch Kitty in your arm, I soak in how wonderfully beautiful you are. You too are getting tall but your frame is curled up in a little ball as you breath slowly in the coolness of the morning. I smile at the sweetness of you and I thank God for having a little girl.
I sit down on the floor and I watch you. I should wake you soon as we have to get ready to start the day but it’s not often that I get to just look at you. So I take a moment to look. As I gaze at two little perfect beings, my stares become slightly blurred from tears filling my eyes. It’s something I haven’t wanted you to see lately – me being vulnerable – because I know you need to believe in the warmth and security I provide. But this morning, as you sleep, I let the tears flow as I think about all that has happened these past seven weeks and wonder what the future will hold.
I want what is best for you and I wonder if I will ever know what that truly is. I also know that somewhere inside of me wants what’s best for me too. And I’m not sure if that’s one and the same. Uncertainty is the worst evil. But as I soak in your essence I focus on the love we share, my little ones, and it’s that love that allows the tears to heal my heart. I sit there in the cool winter morning and I pray that answers will come.
As I wipe the tears away, I notice Monk begin to rustle and you slowly open your eyes to see me sitting at your bedside. You smile a groggy smile and whisper, “Hi, Daddy.” “Hi, Buddy.” I reply and I lean in to kiss your chubby cheek. Your familiar smell and softness of your skin are comforting and I feel strength rising in me once again. I let you wake up at your own pace and I head over to Swee’Pea.
Swee’Pea, I rub your back gently to arouse you from your slumber. You open your eyes and, upon seeing me, sit up and snuggle into my chest while you clutch your kitty to your chest. I continue to rub your back as I lean down and kiss the top of your head, smelling the shampoo from your bath the night before. I squeeze you tight and ask if you’re ready to go get dressed. You nod so we rise together.
Our routine lately is to get ready in my bedroom while Sesame Street plays on the TV and before I know it, both Monk and Swee’Pea are toddling down the hall towards my room. I follow with clothes in hand.
It’s time to face another day.