Ninja Mama and The Muse

Mar 21, 2017

I still myself so as to feel the edges of his little body, and where they overlap the edges of mine.


One small leg is slung over my thigh, resting as heavily as a few pounds of soft flesh can.

His arm is curved over my breast, holding it in that gesture of both possessiveness and comfort, and his little fingers touch, the pad of each one, to the bareness of my shirt-lifted skin.

His body is close enough to mine that I can feel each inhale and exhale; the occasional shudder in between.

To my right, his sister.  Sleeping more heavily, she is turned to face my love, her body merely a warmth next to me.  My escape will only be encumbered by the unconsciously grasping limbs of one small child tonight.

When I lay with them in the evening, the sensations

of entwined legs

flutttering fingertips

the even rhythm of inhale




is so toe-curlingly delightful

it is as though my blood has been replaced by light

and I could nearly hover above my own body with satisfaction and fullness and 

pure unadulterated love.

But in these wee morning hours, the very same

entwined legs and

fluttering fingertips

feels like an ocean riptide, and I struggle to make my way back to shore.

And so I begin.


Slowly…so slowly…pull back the blanket.  Legs free, blanketed instead by the coolness of the nighttime bedroom.

A tiny wrist between my thumb and forefinger, gently raised off my breast and tucked alongside a fleece-jammied body.

I wait.  Listen for the settling of breath, a sigh.

A shimmy that has my heart in my throat, pounding, contracted breath:

please don’t wake up!

Wait.  Silence again.  The rise and fall of breath.

I pull the edge of my tee shirt so…so…so slowly from underneath him

and then I feel the release.

I am free.

I curse my separated abdomen muscles, still not healed two years postpartum, for not being strong enough to lift me up to a seated position.  I must carefully place my hands on the mattress beside them, grateful for the invention of pillowtops and my ability to press myself up to sitting without moving the sleeping bodies surrounding me.

I duck low and roll off the bed.


Like a goddamn ninja.


The dog awakens and shakes, her collar jangling, and her arthritic body dragging and scratching across the carpet and I drop to the floor, low, so I cannot be seen from the bed and I think

they should make camo for moms.  Like, with Legos and uncapped markers, so we can blend in with the floor.

The catching of breath and a soft


fuck fuck fuck

I wait…

false alarm.

One arm, one leg, another arm, another leg,

I crawl across the floor, avoiding the spots that creak

(I know this, after so many failed attempts.  But like the prisoner digging his way free with a spoon, I am nothing if not persistent)

Because on the other side of that door

is me.


Warm, milky tea.  Flickering candle.


And The Muse.


She knows, now, to meet me here, on the other side of that door.  She comes, I think, in a nod of sisterhood and solidarity, knowing what it took, how I manoeuvred my way back to myself

not defined by the where I feel the edges

of their little bodies

overlapping mine

but just



By myself.

She wraps me in the coloured cloak of my own imagination and escorts me quietly down the stairs and sits patiently, next to my desk, while I do the work of

reclaiming myself

each morning.

Each morning, when the toe-curling pleasure of writing my words is so delightful

it is as though my blood has been replaced by light

and I could nearly hover above my own body with satisfaction and fullness and

pure unadulterated love.