I want you out!  How am I supposed to sleep with you in here? You’re too big.  Too old.  It’s a two person bed and you’re the third.  You’ve wormed your way into the middle, so you might have each of us, to claim as your own by right of birth.

Because you are my daughter and I used to put you here, in our bed, between us.  And I gave you my breast and the warm, sweet milk that made me part of you and you part of me.  Your smell, addictive, new and fresh and life itself.  Your cheeks so round and squishy, your fat little thighs and the dimples at each knuckle when your tiny hands clutched me.  Your skin like silk beneath my fingers and on my lips and I needed you as much as you needed me.

You were my everything.  In the intoxicating nights of your infancy, you and I were one and the same and there was no one else.  And I was drunk on you and you claimed me and I surrendered.

You are so big now.  I watch you, my baby person, and you no longer toddle or lisp.  You read, and write, and tell me things I didn’t teach you.  You ask questions I don’t know the answers to.

I catch glimpses of that baby, of that me, but your face is lean and your eyes are full of the person you are and all you know that is more than milk and scent and the sound of my heartbeat.

In the night you climb into my bed and you sleep like the very devil.  You kick the covers off of us, as you always did, but now I groan and gripe and wish you would go back to your own bed in your own room because you are six now and you are so long.  And you grind your teeth as you did even before you had teeth and it sounds like nails on a chalkboard and I say ugh, would you stop that, though you are asleep and won’t hear.  And you roll about and somehow take up more than a third of the bed though you’re the smallest one in it.

Any minute now, I will get up and carry you back to your bed and I’ll sleep without being assaulted.

Except I won’t.  I’ll curl around your too-big body and breathe in the scent of you and feel your still-soft cheek against my lips as I did those nights when your whole body slotted neatly into the space of my torso as if you were still inside me.  I’ll whisper, I love you.

I won’t send you away tonight.  I won’t let you go this night.

That day will come.  Soon, too soon, my daughter, my precious, my angel, my life.  But stay tonight, and you can dig your foot into my stomach and bully me nearly off the bed, and I’ll be grateful.