In the morning I had both my girls in my arms. Catherine snug on top of my bicep, hair nuzzled in my armpit. Madeleine just beyond her, within reach of my fingertips. Both almost breathing heavily, eyes almost totally closed, but then a cardinal lights up the widow with a red splash of sound. Both girls’ eyes brighten and startle out of their snuggles to their knees to look for the singer. My frustration slips away in their wonder, yes, it is the opening of the morning, it’s pure wonder, the clarity of that bell traveling through the half-light into our open window.
Madeline whispered, “It’s the first light of morning.” “Yes,” I whisper, “it is.” “We’re seeing the dawn!” And I suddenly, in my sleepy stupor, want to see the dawn with them.
We listen for awhile and they get chilly and cuddle back down under the heavy covers. I slip my arm back under Catherine’s three-year-old head and watch Madeleine’s eyes get droopy and close, like a miracle falling from the sky.
I lay there and hold them, unable to sleep, uncomfortable, listing to the noisy cardinal, the planes overhead, deeply glad to be able to hold their bodies close to mine, that their worries and needs are something I can take in my arms and hold them while they gently subside. If only there would always be such a balm for their loneliness, their cries. For now, come here, come lie with me under the covers. Let’s doze to the opening of the morning.