Last week Peabody and I made chocolate cupcakes, just because. We baked them together, just us two, in the afternoon, and then we let them cool until Bean got home from school. As soon as she had her boots off, the three of us whipped up the frosting and the two of them used my trusty Pampered Chef frosting decorator to squeeze a fresh, chocolaty, butter-creamy dollop onto the top of the cakes. The minute the last cupcake had its frosting, each of us grabbed a just-finished confection, and we devoured them, hunched over the still-gooey, cocoa-dusted, cluttered mess on the kitchen island, each with the fingers of our free hands curled around a cold glass of milk.
As we enjoyed our treats, I looked at my babies' faces and hands, sticky and smudged brown, watched their eyes roll back for the pleasure of crumb and cream, the rich, unexpected delight, took in the strands of Bean's sweet yellow curls that had escaped during the day from the ponytail she'd hastily scraped them into this morning, all by herself, on her way out the door. I noticed the bottoms of Peabody's gigantic bare little-boy feet. There's a freckle on the left one that came in not long after he was born. It inches further up his arch as he grows. I leaned in, kissed and coo'ed Mama-love into their familiar-smelling hair and pushed my lips into their soft round cheeks and the curves of their happy, shiny noses.
They hugged me, wiped their hands on their shirts, thumped down off stools and were on their way to dance or toss my throw pillows or put on boots and hats to go outside. I turned to face the dishes, softened from the time with them, careful to store every detail of these moments, even as soapy water dissolved and swirled the sweet, sticky mess of it all right down the kitchen drain.
I rinsed milk glasses, noticing how tiny but sturdy they were in my hand, and prayed nothing will ever wash away the memory of those chocolate faces, their giggles, the run-away curls and stretching freckle, their scent or the solid feel of their bodies curled against mine.