The half-light of morning. You sleep, again. This, the third time I’ve crept back to my office from where we lay together on a papasan cushion on your nursery floor because with me is the only way you fall asleep. Nursling. My yearling. Not certain I’m awake. 3am, begin Freeman obit. 3:15, you startle awake without me, cry for me, deadrun into my next-door office. Shhhh. Log out my hours, close my computer, turn off the light. I hold you, you nurse, you sleep. Half-hour later, I tiptoe away, finish Freeman, edit all of Trouillot down to the last reference, but don't manage to send it to the author before again you note my absence. I answer your call, I hold you, nurse you. Another half-hour of lying there while you sort-of nurse, while I calm my heart rate but hopefully not so much that I fall asleep. Disetangle, creep away; begin again. In between, my eyes dilate and constrict: bright task lamp, soft room lamp, dim nightlight, and room black. Neither awake nor asleep, I dream strange things. Something about a serial killer and his protégé beginning by killing her own mother—and I swear it’s not too much crime drama TV because I haven’t watched any for months, since February, since we came back from Hawaii and you no longer would sleep alone. Each night we eat, you scream bloodymurder while we change you for bed, we sing you your bedtime book, you fight sleep by playing with every toy you can find, I get exasperated and panicky and mad (c’mon, baby, I have to get you to sleep so I can do any work!), then off the lights go, and you frantically search for a nipple. Some nights I fight off sleep, creep away to work the evening hours, crash the rest of the night once you come for me. Some nights I sleep till you wake, frantic, and go looking for me—even though I’m right beside you. I have to call you back, you lunge into my arms, and we both calm this way. You nurse, you slip into sleep, and I, in tiny increments, slip away: unhook the arm from under your head, secure the comforter between us so that you still feel nestled in, roll away a little, and a little more, and more, and then tiptoe away, opening the door hopefully only enough that it doesn't creak, hopefully avoid the nosy spot in the wooden floors. And it’s 5, and 5:20, and 5:30, and I should be editing, will feel guilty for this later, but I need this half-hour for me. To clear my head.
Aubrey thinks it’s this anniversary—not of you being born, but of me being hospitalized. That you remember those five days mama was not home. Good god, I hope she’s wrong.