This baby smiles so much in his sleep. Sometimes he’ll make a tiny hiccup, stretch his legs, and giggle a bit before relaxing into the most darling grin. I have yet to conquer it, the infant smile. If I catch it–or rather, if it catches me–I must curl carefully next to him, listen for a moment to his peaceful breathing, and hope for perhaps another slumber-smile before I tear myself away to take care of all those tasks which await me in Reality.
This is life right now, small interludes within a bigger one as we wait and wait some more to return to Baku. There were issues with the initial passport sent for Samuel, and our flight (which was to leave today) moved ahead two weeks. There was much stress-induced eating of chocolate, consolation of a very disappointed 6-year-old, and in between it all, a daily-growing baby and his mischievous, not-quite-two-year-old sister.
Ben was here and now he’s not, and I marvel sometimes at the prospect of being together again, keeping house in Baku, our things cluttered together on the dresser, sharing a sink that always shows remnants of his morning shaves and my messy teeth-brushing. I’ve learned to ease my way out of the prickly intensity of missing into the numb resignation of longing. Every night at 10, I send him a message on Facebook bidding him good morning in Azerbaijan; every morning after I wake, I move groggily around the kitchen to get the kids toast and milk, waiting for his e-mail letting me know he is home from work with our little Sons of Thunder.
Small interludes: Quinn’s into everything now. Everything everything everything, making messes and learning how to sort out all these frustrating emotions, and very dramatically enduring the discipline handed down when she decides to wield some sass. Toddlerhood: It’s a beast. I comfort myself through the process by doing her hair in every style I can summon my dexterity to produce on that tiny head. It’s like a work of art based in strawberry-scented detangler, with flower-festooned snap clips to add the finishing touch.
Small interludes: Gabriel is reading everything in sight, his eyes flashing constantly, aware of a world suddenly more colorful with the blooming focus of fresh understanding. I need only stoop a little now to hug him. He carries the baby around and runs whatever errands I request, and this is my constant, mental reminder to myself when it comes to my oldest boy: To love this tiny knight, to let him be silly.
We’ll all be together soon. I’m sure my 3-and-4-year-olds grew a foot while I’ve been away from them, and I’ll spoil them with daily waffles when I’m back and not mind (at least for a week) them destroying my sleep with thrice-nightly odd requests. Gabriel will do homework at the desk upstairs, his brothers taunting him with their Lego creations until he finishes up and goes to trump them with his own masterpiece. Ben will make his baby boy giggle and Quinn will follow me from room to room while I gather socks and wrappers. We’ll gab like girls do and I’ll tickle her for approximately 43 seconds before we work together to put wet clothes into the dryer.
Yes, we’ll pass out of this season as we always do. For now we smile in our sleep, knowing there is joy even in the gaps.