I was not exactly excited when I heard Annie calling for me at 2 AM. I thought we were past this. And it’s not as if I’m going to get a nap today. I made her a bottle of milk and a sippy cup with a dash of apple juice in warm water. I was less excited that she was uninterested in either, as our nursing days are coming to an end, and I was not in the mood for a battle. But then I took my love to our chair in the living room, with a view out our window of the Wyoming moon framed by pallid clouds and the shadows of mountains, and I found myself so grateful for the chance to watch this sweet soul watch the moon until her eyes grew too heavy and her mind too weary to take it in. And then I thought of all the women I have met or read of, who have lost their babes, and I hid my treasure in my heart, for these moments are past value.

After all, is this night not the heart of Mother? Is her choice and her calling not a quiet misremembering of Self? The hunger, the fatigue, the need for relaxation, quiet, mental stimulation – they are either made to fit in the corners of her life, or quietly shelved for a more convenient season. Mother is busy, chasing eternal life, pouring her essence into vessels that will outlast her. What woman begrudges her baby the fight against the small death of sleep? Her body might regret it, but her heart rejoices when that fragile cherub kicks and wails and asserts his will over the pull of darkness.

She deals daily in the trite, earthly cares of the corporeal. Her duties range from tedious to odious, but she (most days) approaches it with a smile of steel and a will of iron. She cheerfully drips her blood onto the loam of her children’s carnal needs with the knowledge she is growing a crop that will carry that blood, along with her her heart and mind, for generations to come. After all, who hesitates to pay the coin of convenience for the treasure of immortality?

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