"Sorry, Baby. I know you picked more books, but Mommy's pooped."
"Why are you tired? I'm not tired."
"I know you're not tired." It doesn't matter how tired she is, you can never tell her she's tired. It starts a marathon of sleep deprivation for all involved.
"How about we sleep right here, Mother?"
She curls in close and pulls my head down to hers. We lay still so long I think I might fall asleep.
We need this moment. Sweet, restoring togetherness. Mommy's so tired from a day of screaming, fighting, fussing, fit-pitching - all day discipline. I need this quiet to remember my darling girl, how much I enjoy her. Not love her. That doesn't change. But enjoy her. Because some days are more enjoyable than others.
Like the night we shared creme brûlée at Fresh Market. Or the Christmas shopping trip to buy gifts for small one. Or sipping hot chocolate from espresso cups.
She breaks the silence: "Mommy, I need to tell you a question. Ummm..."
She thinks up her question.
"Butterflies. Why are they so stinky?"
"Are butterflies stinky?"
"Oh yes. Butterflies are very stinky."