The roar of laughter and cries finally settle. The echo of slamming metal doors passed as everyone settles in their cages.
Breathe in – breathe out, everything in-between will be okay. But, will it? In the in – between, the land of shadows – the place of purgatory – the pure agony.
Breathe in – breathe out. Tears of relief collect in my hair and ears for another day over.
“Please be safe and sleep well tonight my precious children,” I whisper into the emptiness.
Breathe in – breathe out…stop thinking.
I awoke startled and I realized it was only a nightmare. I stood up and walked into my children’s rooms, and looked at the three perfect little beings sleeping peacefully in their beds.
I look through the window and see the sun starting to rise. It feels like Christmas morning. I can’t wait for them to wake up so I can wrap my arms around them. My youngest begins to move around in his crib and seems surprised and delighted that I am already there when he awakens. His gentle coos melt my heart as I change his diaper.
“Hi, Sweety!” I whisper as I pick him up.
“Mamamama.” he chants as I hug him.
The night seemed so long, and I couldn’t shake off the nightmare.
“Mom!” my older two came running and threw their arms around me. “We had bad dreams.”
It must have been a full moon.
They all three sat in my lap as I hugged them – unable to hold back the tears of joy.
“Why are you crying mommy?” My little boy traced my tear with his finger.
“I’m just so happy.” I smelled the top of his head.
“Are you excited about starting school today?” I smiled down at him.
“Will you stay with me?” he looked up with fear in his eyes.
“You’ll meet new friends, but I’ll stay as long as you need me to.”
I sat in the little classroom chair holding his baby brother. There were a few other mothers in the room, who were also having a hard time letting go – probably more so than our children – who were by now laughing and giggling.
“Mom, you can go now.” He put his little hand on mine.
I didn’t want to go – I didn’t want to let him go. I was so proud of him – his courage and his heart. I stood at the classroom door – wondering how someone so good could come from me. He caught me watching him and blew me a kiss.
My steps echoed through the halls before I peeked in the classroom of my oldest. Her little hand was raised – so little, but independent. How is it possible to love someone so much?
“Mamamama.” broke the silence.
“Meds. MEDS” I opened my eyes. “Do you want ‘um or not?”
I tried to focus through the fog. The smell of my children still lingered from my dream.
“Guess not.” the steel door slammed.
Breathe in – breathe out and everything in-between will be okay…but will it? Will I? Will they?
The field of dreams: the only escape from the fourteen months of solitude that became me as I waited in the in-between for my day in court.