A cheeky cheeky boy, grinning because he knows he will get what he wants. Yes I say. Yes you can have cheese. No you do not have to have bean salad. Yes, cheese is a fine sort of protein for you. I will tell the other kids it is because he is delicate but really we all know it is because he is youngest and it's okay.

Oh here, let me show you this stubborn stubborn redhead. I mean pudgy solidness. When we have made him mad he knows it is a good idea to go outside and kick the steps or walk around the block fuming. He knows I will worry less about someone getting hurt that way. He knows to come back when he is ready and we will listen to his words instead of trembling pent up fists. I drink in both him and his rage, they are powerful explosive and mine.

This girl has long long hair. I cannot keep my hands out of it. Here let me braid it. Here let me comb it. Here let me braid it again. Of course this hair is beautifully straight. She is seven, and she says Stop it Mom. It's my own hair.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, I am my mother after all.

Everyone knows these kids will happen again, this time for me, this time with different faces. It is all real and still half of it is a picture in my head. All of this has happened because I will make it come true. There is a family in me somewhere and some days it tries to tickle its way out.

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