We borrowed them. For the time they've been with us it's been an ephemeral clinging of hands in a circle, our little family, but it doesn't matter how tightly we hold, our fingers will separate and my husband and I will remain standing with outstretched hands, their beautiful, warm essence lingering on our fingertips.
I wish someone would have told me -- yet I am so glad no one told me -- that when the nurse put these funny, little babies in my arms the clock began immediately ticking. Tick tock tick tock, you better soak in the memories down into your soul and on video and on photos. Everyone should be blessed with someone in their lives like my husband who has a desperate need to catch every moment on film, someone who intuitively knows that the the soul retains the memories but somehow mixes them with a milky film, making things cloudy and faded.
He's going away, and it's left me walking through a slow-motion gelatenous haze, trying to sigh away the lump in my throat, stealing glances and touches of his hair or his long arm or cheek. He's going away and I surround him in my mind, as I do all my family and friends, with a white light of protection. The words "please, please, please" play as a loop in my head, as in please keep him safe, please let him continue to be happy, and please help us figure out how to fill the abyss-like void he -- and then his brother -- will leave.
As our baby birds leave the nest, my husband and I will have no choice but to shed our sad, damaged feathers, to molt and start anew. We will need to grow a new plumage that protects us and allows us to fly, high above the sadness and into a new, unchartered horizon.