we brought you home from the hospital on your second day of life.
i sat in the gliding chair in my room with you cradled like a football in my lap;
your dad read a new book to your sister on the bed next to us.
i complained that i didn’t understand
how to position the pillow to help you latch my breast to eat
in a way that didn’t hurt either of us.
your sister watched.
as dad got up to offer me help,
interrupting the story mid-sentence,
mildly abandoning her for the first of many times
as we learned to adapt to life with multiple children.
he went downstairs, at my request,
to find the footstool that came with the chair.
i looked at your sister,
hoping she would understand my face looking at her
with a sense of exhaustion and defeat.
i worried her mood would crumble like mine,
but she wore a gentle curiosity and
spoke to my body language with a delicate voice.
“mom” she consoled,
“you’re doing a great job taking care of your kids.”
in that moment,
i realized for the first time that i had kids.
the gift of kids.
my body softened in amazement as i pondered her compliment.
she cupped her small hands,
now giant compared to yours,
around her mouth and offered encouragement
in the form of “woohoo! cheers for mom!”
while footsteps could be heard climbing the stairs
and a tear let itself glide down my cheek.
this was the first of many times
my kids would take care of me
when i couldn’t quite take care of them.