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Both Noah and Rosie like to fall asleep with the doors to their rooms open. In Rosie’s room, there is a small floor fan whirring at the foot of her bed and soft music playing on the CD player; Noah’s room is quiet. After we tuck them in, and then tuck them in … and then switch places and tuck them in again and then leave, they are left with the shadows on the walls and animals in their beds as companions for the night.
It doesn’t take long for either of them to drift off, and at some point in the evening from my spot on the sofa I pause and look up, realizing somehow that sleep has happened and all is still. I go to close their doors, starting first with Noah’s at the far end of the hall. The pull of warm cheeks, ripe for the kissing, is too strong for my hormone-riddled self of late, and so I pad softly in sock feet to the edge of the bed, where he lays on his side, half under a comforter of cars. I lean over to breathe in his soapy, sweet smell and press my lips to his face, hand resting on the top of his still damp hair. Without fail each night he stirs briefly, shifts, swallows, and turns to rest on the other side, sighing, lost in dreams. I close the door and leave him in the glow of the numbers on his alarm clock, set to wake him before we are up and showered, so he might still have claim to the warm spot between us in our bed.
Rosie’s floor creaks on every third step but the fan muffles my entrance, so I walk without hesitation to where she lays on her back, arms flung open wide and legs askew. Her blanket is never far from her side, and most nights the favored random object of the day (a plastic car, a tiny penguin, a spatula) is still in her grasp. When I kiss her temple she doesn’t move a muscle, her expression peaceful and smooth browed, head perfectly centered on her pillow. I stay a minute longer just to watch the rise and fall of her chest before turning to leave, pulling the door gently to as I go. She’ll sleep ’til morning, when she’ll wake and call to me from her bed, sleepy and waiting, full of hope that soon she’ll be greeted by the sound of my shuffling approach.
Remember, remember, remember.