But I only tell people about the three they can see. The fourth came first. He brought innocence and purity, which he took when he left. I haven’t told the other three about the first. Because I don’t know how to explain about really bad things.
When the next one came I stupidly forgot to hide the soft part of me. I left it exposed, like the new skin underneath a band-aid. I thought that nothing could hurt me any more.
I was wrong.
He cooed like a wounded owl. And he didn’t speak. Didn’t have a voice of his own. So I gave him mine knowing he might still never know what he meant to me.
The next one clung to me as if we were suddenly reunited after a long trip apart. Never leaving my side, resting in the place on my chest that seemed designed for the shape of his head. Asking me if I loved him over and over again until it became a game that we played. Silly to everyone else but fiercely serious to him. Making sure that I understood I could never leave him.
Then, a surprise. The last one born on the day the first was supposed to be. Coming into the world warm and kicking and squirming with life. Joy and guilt combining in a sweetly painful way like cinnamon gum. And in spite of everything, filling me with irrepressible hope.