this makes my heart sing

31 May this makes my heart sing

“I am 4 and 4-year-olds do not nap!” she says in a huff. This is a hand-on-the-hip, head-tilted, eyes squinting proclamation that makes me fearful of her teenage years.

“You will rest,” I say. “We all need rest.”

And so she sighs, “fine!” and asks, “can I rest in your room, Mommy?” And I hear her in there, talking softly and playing. She has pulled many of my books off my nightstand, fanned them across her lap, and is pretending to read them. She looks for the letter “Bs” and the word “the” and the word “mommy.” These are what she knows. And, then, twenty minutes later, the room falls quiet.

I sneak in to watch her. The sight of my sleeping child is intoxicating. I look at her face, and it’s the same exact face I’ve known since she was first laid new and bare upon my chest. Her bow-tie lips and button nose and the shape of her eyelids have not changed since that day she took her first breath. 

“I am an artist,” she says, “and these are my super match pencils!”

“What are ‘super match’ pencils?” I ask.

“They are magic. I can draw anything. I can draw mermaids and dinosaurs and the oceans and a hundred rainbows. I can draw the whole world. These pencils work only for me.”

She says these things, and I wonder if she can see my chest swelling. It feels like it might explode.

“Artists need rest too,” I say.

“Drawing the whole world takes a lot of energy.”

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