The children chase each other, giggle. They stop at the play kitchen to make me egg, strawberry and lemon soup. I want to breathe them into me. Or pour this moment in a pyrex container, so I can take it out of the deep freeze some day when I am old and lonely. I will simmer it over a low flame. The house will fill with the smell of baby-head and vanilla breath. I'll ladle a warm bowl of love and the ordinary for myself, curl up in front of the fire, and sip it, savoring them. They are everything I imagined them to be, my children. They are all knobby-kneed and corny jokes, long feet and kisses all over my hand. I try to listen to them without being seen, but it's nearly impossible. They always notice me. But when she pretends to be the mommy, she calls her stuffed babies 'honey', kisses their eyes, and tells them she loves them. One day, he will sleep through the night. Later, he may fancy the girl who lives next door, and try to impress her by riding one of the unicycles in the garage. One day, she will tell me about a boy and complain about her thighs, which will look strong and beautiful to me, and fat to her. One day, I will be grey and not the most important person in their lives. As I sit, I cannot shake the feeling that I may not be here for them. I want to tell them that every moment of their lives I felt grateful for them, that every moment I wanted to catalogue in some fetishistic photo album. "Here is the back of her head with its flush of red birthmark that I worried over in the early days. Here is the scab he developed after that weird blister. He was brave when we burst it." I hope I remember, but I am already forgetting what they were yesterday. I want to tell them I will be always there guiding them, you know, if I die, which I totally probably won't. I will show them the way if they listen to the wind. I want to tell them that I will come back as a hummingbird and a ladybug and anything else they think is beautiful, but it won't be enough and I will be sorry for that. I want to tell them that, but it doesn't seem right. They are too young. They have had too much loss already. My death has not even occurred to them yet. I open my eyes. He is standing below me smiling, wanting to be picked up.
Pick up baby. Squeeze bum. Smell head. Stand up. Put on shoes. Wrangle the girl. Tell her to put her shoes on. Refill water cups. Pack diaper bag. Put on jackets. Walk out the door. Lock door. Smell head. Thank the universe. Thank. The. Universe.