There he is, sprawled across the couch, leaning into the corner, feet propped up across the cushions. So very old, and so very new... timeless. Utter tranquility blends with an intense vitality, and I have to look twice to see if he's awake or asleep. He is beautiful, so beautiful, and he is my son. And he is asleep. Asleep! I could kiss him.

I do kiss him, careful lest I wake him.

Down at my feet the little girl-child has nestled into the carpet. Her eyelids gently snap open, then slowly drift back down.

Do I move her?

I watched, motionless, waiting. The blinks became slower and slower, drowsier and drowsier. When they finally stopped, I tucked a blanket around her, and tiptoed away.

The dishwasher clatters a bit, and I glance around nervously. One arm begins to stir... then settles back down where it was before. The lovely counterpoint of their peaceful breathing continues as though nothing had happened, and finally I exhale.

I fill my favorite mug with water, and tiptoe across the kitchen, carefully going around the tricycle. I pause for a moment, wondering if I dare risk the beep of the microwave.

I decide that if I can't have a cup of tea to myself, this precious solitude isn't worth preserving. I take a deep breath, and punch the buttons.

While my tea water heats, I go down the hall to draw myself a bath. I hear the clatter of wooden train tracks. Nathan is in his bedroom, babbling away to himself. He, too, needs the solitude.

The microwave beeps without incident. I'm nearly giddy with the joy of it.

I breathe a prayer of gratitude as I slip my foot into the warm water.

This is bliss.

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