Little Arms

Lately life is all milestones for Addie: preschool, bikes, nail polish and makeup. I tagged along on her first sleepover with her buddy Zoey (and little sister Abby), so I could hang with my mom best friend (MBFF). We arrived a little before dark, Addie with her sleeping bag and no idea what to expect. The girls played, ate waffles with cream cheese for dinner and strawberry ice cream for dessert. They changed into pajamas and brushed teeth together, trying out each other’s toothpaste. By the time we put them to bed (in separate rooms) they both sacked out immediately, exhausted from talking a mile a minute the whole time.

Around 8:30, we officially considered it a success – they were asleep. We were left with nothing to do but chill out, swap stories old and new, eat cake, dream and reminisce. With four kids between us, this is unprecedented. We didn’t even have to deal with the guilt of leaving our kids to spend time together. As glorious as it all was, we’re old and tired. We said long goodnights, appreciating the rejuvenating time between ‘soul sisters’ (a term we used to use ironically, but has now become the truth of our relationship).

I tiptoed into the spare room even though I knew Addie was sound asleep from her deep, long breaths. Her little body was sprawled in the middle of the pull-down bed, surrounded by comfort items from home: the grey and white blanket she’s had since birth, her bear (“Mop”), and the owl she tucks under her chin for comfort, less and less often these days.

Addie Sleeping

As usual, she was drenched in sleep sweat; I brushed her long blonde hair from her face, and lifted her head to turn her pillow over to the cool side. I looked for a spot to slip into bed without moving her but then shoved her, unceremoniously, to the left. As I lay down next to her she groaned and turned toward me. Her warm little arm brushed against mine and my whole body sighed, sagging into the bed, heavy with love.

My first-born’s soft skin sent an electric current of emotions through my body. A love so hard that it pulsed through my veins, making my blood move faster, somehow warmer. My chest tightened with a bittersweet rush of love for this human I created. It stings, just a little, this love, with an almost unbearable awe. I snuggled her close and a wave of contentment washed over me.

Outside the bedroom door was quiet calm. Above me was soft light from a beautiful fixture resembling a circle cut from a redwood tree. My MBFF has impeccable taste. I felt the pull of Friday night exhaustion in my body and mind. My soul was grateful for the gift lying next to me (though I hoped she slept for many hours). I let myself lean into the love, and closed my eyes.

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