The rain is a vertical river, thunderous and steady against our gabled roof. It’s my favorite kind of storm; its intensity and intention speak to the part of me that is always craving more movement in my life, and I love the way the water envelopes our house, the lamplight by my bed its epicenter.
The girls crawled under the comforter with me a while ago, and now they’re curled together like kittens, the older one reading softly, the younger one listening more softly still. Without really intending to, my mind wanders back to the night before Natalie’s second birthday. Some secret blossoming instinct had compelled me to take a pregnancy test, but I’d been too nervous to look at it, because what if it was negative? And what if it was positive? I simply couldn’t get the edges of my imagination to meet on the other side of that possibility—my tulle-haired toddler becoming an older anything, the cells of my own mama-heart dividing and multiplying into a new species of love. It was like glimpsing my face in a sci-fi film and having to work out if I was dreaming or if the laws of the universe really had just staged a coup.
I had Dan look at the test for me while I stood tiptoe on the line between before and after. When his eyes turned into carnival lights, I knew, and my mind spun tilt-a-whirl into this new now. Two children, two—double the territory of motherhood I was still exploring with the caution of a foreigner. I thought of my own childhood relationships with my siblings and imagined rivalry and manipulation sown like minefields across our family’s future. At the same time, the slender, precious hope of sibling rapport was already gestating in my conscious. I hoped and feared in equal measure and didn’t sleep well again until the day we brought Sophie home from the hospital and our family of four clicked into place.
This evening, the circle of lamplight by my bed glows off of the unimaginable—two colors of hair, two brilliantly diverse personalities, two hearts galloping headlong in their own directions but always, somehow, linked to the other. The longer I watch my girls, drinking in the curve of their cheeks, the earnest trajectory of their eyes, the tender nonchalance in the way their legs pile on each other under the covers, the less I am stirred to restlessness by the storm outside, and the more I am pulled into this epicenter of light and sweet familiarity. Sci-fi no longer—we are home.
How has the concept of family stretched your horizons, sent you whirling, or redefined your sense of place?