Checking on the Kids

I creep carefully through the dark hallway, assiduously avoiding the squeaky boards. I twist the knob on Max’s bedroom door and  ease it open. It always sticks, especially when the air conditioner is running.

My eyes adjust to the dim light provided by his “Where the Wild Things Are” nightlight. They search out the outline of his body in his Thomas bed; my ears strain to catch his breath.

I hear it. I listen for six or seven breaths, making sure he is ok. I mouth, “I love you” and slowly back out, easing the door shut.

I stand outside his room. I look across the landing to the open door of the room that used to belong to my daughter. Her nightlight shines like her own eternal flame. I envision her lying in the crib, breathing softly, so adorable and alive.

I kiss the tips of my fingers and touch them to my son’s door.

I blow a kiss to my daughter’s door.

I kiss the tips of my fingers and touch them to my belly.

That gesture allows me to feel, for one brief moment, as if I am together with all three of them.

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