Either it unsealed as she grew or it had never quite sealed or somehow she punctured her eardrum anew, but something happened and she needed this surgery and then the lovely husband left town for days upon days and eventually all the kids stopped sleeping, as they do when he's gone for extended lengths, and then all three one particular night ended up in bed with me at once, and G sensed abundance and had my earlobe in his left hand and wanted E's in his right and it hurt her, his connection of comfort at the healing incision under medical tape.
And E cried from pain and G cried from sister-ear-denial and L cried because now she was awake, again, and she wanted her daddy.
He's home now, that husband, lovelier in truth by degree of proximity, and the medical tape has since fallen off and E's surgical follow-up is at the end of this week. The kids are sleeping again, mostly in their own beds, and I laid with G in his own snuggly nest this evening after he congratulated me on the foresight to remove my earrings before crossing his threshold. I rubbed his back and he greedily grabbed both my ears, his dedication unwavering, and I wondered of all the lovey habits to wean, how we'll ever teach this boy to fall asleep without another body to grab on, when I'll wear earrings through the night, how we'll ever send him to sleepovers or summer camp or beyond.
And then I remind myself to cut his nails in the morning, and I rub his back, and I listen to his breathing ease, and I nod at the progress of time at its slow and steady pace. I set the wondering about his outgrowing me aside for another day and I note my earlobes snug in his sweaty fists and I doze beside him a few minutes before sneaking out of his grasp and his bed and his room and the what-ifs of the shadows of his nightlight.
This post was inspired by Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, a novel that exposes the gothic underbelly of an American dynasty and an outsider’s hunger to belong; and my imagining, obviously, what it might be like when my own babies eventually venture out on their own. Join From Left to Write on May 20 we discuss Bittersweet. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.