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I dream that your eyes will be big and dark around the edges, your cheeks dimpled, your hair curly. And I'll feel your laugh all the way down my spine. You've got two little bottom teeth and a kid belly. With cherry popsicle-sticky all down your shirt, your neck creases gummed up with a mix of lint and red goo. Fat little fingers that get stuck in my hair when you kiss me. Spit all over my cheek. You'll call me Mama.

And I'll thank you for coming back. And in time, maybe I'll tell you about today, about how I knew your face even though you didn't have one yet, and how I didn't cry when they took you away, because they'll never really take you away. About the drive home, alone, along the curves of Balboa Park, through the eucalyptus trees, how every woman on the street seemed to be pregnant but me. How I was all hollowed out like a jack-o'-lantern.

My little baby angel, my wink from God, if you come back to me, I'll be ready next time. I won't be white-knuckled teeth-clenched Mama anymore.

I'll sway when I walk and be breezy and drink lots of water and take naps and hum to myself. I'll know right away, and I'll have an air of wisdom about me, a beautiful secret. I'll talk to you, sometimes right out loud, and we'll catch up on time lost. How you've been, where you've been.

In the meantime, please don't pick a new Mommy.
And if you have to, if I'm taking too long to learn to sway and hum the right way, make sure she's got a sweet face, a good smile, a silly nature. Make sure she doesn't feed you Lunchables or make you color inside the lines. Make sure she'll light up when you walk in the room.

I love you, and I'm sorry that we got sick together. I'm proud that I got to be a part of you.

Love,
Mama