My body's shifting movements alerted her to my imminent departure.
"I want you," she whined.
We already read our three stories. Our three songs were sung.
"I want you," she cried, holding two of my fingers too tightly.
She wrapped her arms around my neck and said again,
"I want you."
Most nights, she goes to sleep easily and by herself but occasionally she begs me to stay close.
Because an endless list of tasks awaits me in the narrow space between her bedtime and mine, I usually don't stay.
"Mommy needs to sleep in her own bed," I offer while thinking impatiently of all the things I have to do first.
Inexplicably, I spent most of my weekend acutely aware of how everything could change at any moment.
It was completely morbid, but it made every interaction seem like a last chance, a rare gift.
So for the last two days, every time she went to sleep I curled myself around her smallness, breathed in the smell of her hair and sang our lullaby until I recognized the steady cadence of her sleeping body.
"You're patient with her," K said on Sunday evening.
I rolled my eyes in disagreement.
"I don't know..." I said, "I think I'm just have an extra weird case of PMS."
[Oh, the HORMONES!! Am I goin' through... THE CHANGE???]
K looked at me and smiled.
"I'm reading a book called The Book Thief that your mom left here," K said. There's something in it I that made me think of you."
He opened the book to a dog eared page and showed me this:
IN THE DICTIONARY
Not leaving: an act of trust and love,
often deciphered by children"
"Not leaving," he said. "That's you."