I gather them all in as often as I can, holding them in my hands, trying to capture every drop and drink so deeply I never come up for breath. Memory collects and fills and overflows my fingers. The bedtime songs “again…again…again…”, and me, so very tired that even when I knew I should be treasuring each moment, I was too anxious to tuck them in, kiss their fuzzy foreheads, whisper good nights, deep breaths when they needed one more drink, one more hug, one more kiss that pulled on me like spider webs. Now I mourn the time I squandered, mired in scolding and wiping, worry, whining and tantrums. Resisting, forcing, and butting heads for the good of their future selves, and sacrificing too much of the joy of the day.
And now, I live for the cool evening conversation under the moon, the laughing hug so hard it rocks me off my feet, the warm sweet hand that reaches out for mine as we go into the bar for the birthday drink of passage. Each shining jeweled moment tended and kept alight, warm and restorative. I did the best I could. And maybe it was good enough. I hope it was, as they scatter again.