In the fading hours of the day, the house grows still. Almost sleeping, except that the lights are still on and probably the TV. There's the hum and whistle of the hot water heater, and the cracking sound of settling foundations. There's a fan in the boy's room. And a heater whirring. There's the dog, chewing on the chewy. And the computer, keys tapping, fan spinning.
The silence of the late-night hours are a haven. A time to sit and think. Or sit and not think, as the case may be. Not a lot of "mommy can you" going on, blessed reprieve. Not much eye rolling or sigh making or feet stomping. I'd be lying if I tried to tell you these aren't part of a daily routine. They are. Life isn't perfect, it doesn't sound perfect or look perfect. Sometimes, for fleeting moments, it feels perfect. The stars align and the heavens smile and the world sings. But, I must emphasize the fleeting. Living intrudes, and reality. Only pictures stand still.
Just this morning, Carly crawled up on top of me, laying on my hip while I was on my side on the couch. It wasn't particularly comfortable, but I didn't push her away. I could hear her breathing, the steady signal that she's living. Her cold toes were pressed against my legs, sometimes wiggling and sometimes still. She smelled like soap and clean clothes, she just wanted to be close.
I fell asleep.
Not much later, she woke me as she moved. Getting up, moving on, bored with the subtle silent exchange. Or maybe just full. Full enough of love and comfort to go do something else.
And isn't that the point? The whole, wrapped up, solidified reason for all of this. For families and love and life together. For choosing to stick together when, sometimes, it would be a lot easier just to do things my way alone. For the work and the heartache and the fear. But on my own I'd miss the little moments of breath in my ear, I'd never be full.
In those fading midnight hours, it's so much easier to see.