I love to watch my kids as they’re sleeping. I love the softness of their features, the gentle flutter of their eyes behind their lids, the rhythm of their breath flowing in and out. Sometimes I see their lips move ever so slightly, and in a flash they’re newborns again.
Watching them sleep, even now, is reminiscent of how they were individually in utero. Ben sleeps soundly and still. He clutches his sock monkey pal tightly to his chest, his fingers entwined with the yarn on his head. Chloe sleeps in fits, a master gymnast without covers, her bed a vast ocean to swim during the night.
When I was pregnant with the twins, the ultrasound techs were always amazed by the differences between Baby A (Chloe) and Baby B(Ben). Ben was sturdy, consistent, and constant for every examination. They would put the ultrasound wand on my belly, and there would be his beautiful heartbeat… steady and loud and clear. Chloe was the wild one… they would chase her around my stomach with the wand as she arched and kicked, avoiding her examination with all of her strength. They never got a full picture of her body, because she wouldn’t stay still long enough. “This one’s a firecracker,” I remember one nurse laughing.
I’m amazed at how, even now, I remember how unique their movements felt. Chloe was quick and fluttery, like a hummingbird trapped in a small space. Ben was heavy and stretching. Madeline would turn and turn, dizzying herself into hiccups. What a luxury of space she had! Maddie’s most distinctive feature, even before birth, were her fingers. I knew they would be long and beautiful before I laid eyes on them. I used to feel her splay them out against my pelvis, like a pianist gently touching her keys. Even now, when she sleeps, she stretches her fingers as she curls herself up into a ball so small that for a moment she’s a toddler again.
I wonder what they’re dreaming about as they sleep. In their dreams, are they happy? Are they reliving their days? Are they repeating the parts of who they are that I don’t get to see? Are they strong and confident? Do the lessons we teach and the love that we give shine through?