mairin is one of eight cousins, ranging in age from 5 months (her fave, baby e) to 15 years (her least fave, cousin l, a tall kid whose height really scares her). throw all those kids in a room with a wii and let the fun begin.

which is to say, it’s been a crazy weekend.

last night i brought m home early because she kept climbing in my lap and squirming and crying, which didn’t annoy me until it began to interfere with my focus on my glass of wine . when m and i got home we put on jammies and brushed our teeth, climbed into the big bed in our room, and cuddled while she drank her bottle and fondled her bellybutton. when she was done she handed me her bottle and sank a little further into the bed.

but she didn’t close her eyes.

usually at bedtime m finishes her bottle she hands it to me, then rolls over and goes to sleep; a few minutes later i carry her into her crib. but last night she lay next to me, eyes wide open, slowly looking around the room. when it was clear to me she wasn’t going to go to sleep anytime soon i started talking to her quietly about her day. i reminded her of the games she’d played, the people she’d seen, how much fun she’d had. as i was talking she turned toward me and smiled that all-heart smile that every toddler reserves for just the right moment to melt a grown-up’s heart.

feeling all gooey and melty myself, i smiled back, kissed her on the top of her head, and kept talking. i told her what a good girl she was. her smile got bigger. i told her that she is my favorite 15-month-old. her smile got a little bit bigger. i told her i love her. she lifted her head a little more and then slowly started to nod.

yes mama, you love me.

tertia talked last week about the incredible feeling that is mommy-love — the all-encompassing affection and devotion that parents feel towards their kids. i love that feeling. love love love it. that feeling is my addiction: i love loving these little people. it makes me bigger and more spacious — my heart has a room in it for each daughter, and each room is its own little big sky country.

what more can a girl ask for?