It is always this time of night that drags me under. Midnight, 1am. I kiss first N’s then Little K’s warm cheek and make sure toes are snugly covered. And when I go to bed, I miss them. I want to scoop up those sweaty little weights and smuggle them into bed with me so I can hold time still. Keep them small and sleepy and tangled in dreams of dinosaur tails.

Those salty-sticky, tired heads are getting so big, so fast. Little K says proudly “I am turned three now!” and wants to do all of everything on his own. I filled out kindergarten paperwork this week for a child named N, but I swear my son with the same name just turned two last week. I keep buying bigger shoes and measuring higher on the wall, but I’m in denial until I catch a sidelong glance at long big-boy legs or a missing dimple on a wrist. And then I’m shocked.

N has his first crush at school, on a little brown-haired firecracker called C. He told his dad with nothing but innocence at dinner last night: “Daddy, I figured out why I love C! Her middle name is Nicole, just like Mama’s middle name. And I love Mama.” I may always be his first love, but this spot as his best is getting shorter every day. I already see the side swept hair of a teenaged boy embarrassed of his mom’s affection.

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