Girl2 is three and a half. Other mommies I talk to are trying to come up with ways to get their children into their own rooms.

I’m still hanging on.

This morning, in darkness lit only by the light from a cracked-open bathroom door, I watched my littlest girl awake and remembered again why this time is so precious to me.

There’s that first catch of breath that signifies a rising to consciousness, the half-asleep moan. Then a yawn, bathing you in a sour-sweet smell, and she reaches out, content to settle again when her hands find the warm lump of you, her mother.

You wait, hoping that she’ll settle back into sleep, but she turns over, stretches her arms out to the morning and snuffles and smooshes against the pillow.

She sits up suddenly, like a prarie dog sensing danger. Avoiding girl1’s outflung arm, she settles in against you again, her fingers reaching under the hem of your t-shirt to find skin. There her chill hands slowly warm agaisnt your skin.

You realize it is your skin, your presence she requires, and that the difficult miracle of motherhood is that their love and bond to you has nothing to do with what city you were born in, or if you are on time to everything, or if you vote Republican, but everything to do with the basic connection forged between child and mother.

She just wants you to be there, with her. That’s all.