I can flatter myself by saying these children are beautifully mine. But to be honest, they are their own. They always have been. In the beginning of their lives, I may have been the one caring for them and keeping them alive - each of them born four weeks early - but my work was joyful commitment, it's what what we do as humans: care for those who are unable to do so themselves.
There was a season in my life when the three you see here couldn't put their flip-flops on the right foot without me there to set the shoes in front of them. I remember those days because I would stare at my children then, memorizing their snug shoulders, the small impossible hands, their features so exact and precise it was more than my eyes could take in.
The first time I saw my children, in the seconds when their lives began, the only word I could think as the nurses handed them to me was beautiful beautiful beautiful. Their faces were so heartbreakingly exquisite that even if I had 20 college degrees, I still couldn't design something as extraordinary.
They're older now. My children have grown. When I look at this picture taken a month ago, I discover things about them in the same way when the nurses presented them to me. Their faces seize my heart.
My eyes search, top to bottom, forehead to chin, across the cheeks, back up to their own eyes. My mind calls forth the only words I've ever been able to think as I look at my children:
Beautiful beautiful beautiful.
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