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A Quiet Morning

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The phone alarm rang loudly in the middle of the night, disturbing the silence of the house and waking Christen up. The woman reached quickly to the nightstand, where her phone was, to turn off the annoying sound and prevent her entire family from waking up like she had. She didn’t entirely manage to do that, though, she realized, as soon as she heard Tobin grumble next to her. Christen turned around and saw her wife curled up in the sheets, squinting at the light coming from the phone with a confused look on her face.

“Chris? It’s dark. What’s up?”

“Sorry, baby”, Christen whispered, so as not to disturb Tobin even more than she had already. “I just need to do yoga before the kids wake up and everything turns frantic”.

“But you woke up like 3 hours ago… you sure you don’t want to sleep in? Come cuddle with me”, said Tobin, taking Christen’s hand in her own.

“I need to start doing yoga in the morning again, babe. It’ll help me relax”.

“Okay, I get it”, answered Tobin softly, now wrapping an arm around her wife’s petite body and kissing her cheek.

They stayed like that, with Christen burying her face in Tobin’s neck and enjoying the warmth of their bodies pressed together under the sheets. They had been married for almost seven years and together for more than that, and they both still loved waking up in each other’s arms and cuddling. It was one of those things they’d never get tired of doing; it made them feel completely safe and loved.

After a few minutes, Christen disentangled herself from Tobin’s arms a bit reluctantly, even though she did want to practice yoga. Lately, she had really started to feel anxious and stressed, and part of it had to do with the fact that currently she didn’t have enough time in her life to have a quiet moment for herself. She had given birth to little Sophie four months ago, and even though now both her and Tobin were much more experienced than they had been when Josh was born, taking care of a newborn was still tiring. One of the most beautiful experiences in the world, sure, but still tiring. Somehow, Tobin still managed to keep some of her usually laidback personality despite lacking hours of sleep, but Christen’s anxiety had made a reappearance in the past few weeks, so she knew she needed to go back to meditating to calm her mind. For her and her family’s sake.

Christen exited the bedroom and turned on the light of the hall, whose walls were covered with family photos. As she stretched out on her way to Sophie’s bedroom, she gave a quick look at the pictures.

The selfies Tobin and Christen had taken right after Josh and Sophie had been born and placed on their Mom’s chest.

Tobin, Christen and a 5-month-old Josh on the beach.

Josh holding a newborn Sophie in his arms with a look of complete adoration in his face.

Tobin and Josh doing art together in Tobin’s studio, paint stains on their smiley faces.

Tobin, Christen and their babies with the whole Heath and Press families, the only time they had managed to get all their families together in the same place.

Tobin and Christen during their honeymoon in Hawaii a few years ago, holding each other while looking at the blue ocean.

Smiling at the memories, and a little bit more awake now, Christen checked that both her daughter and her son were still asleep and then made her way to the living room. After picking up some toys Josh had left on the floor, and almost stepping on a couple of Legos, she was finally able to sit on her mat and start meditating. Slowly but surely, with each deep breath she took, the woman started to feel some of her stress and anxiety dissipate in the peace and quiet of the room. By the time she had finished practicing yoga, forty-five minutes later, she felt much stronger mentally and full of energy despite not having gotten much sleep in weeks.

Christen got on her feet and looked at the clock in the kitchen: 6:30 a.m. It was still a bit dark outside, but it would not take much longer for the sun to start to rise and for her day to actually begin. Suddenly, a cry interrupted her thoughts and the silence of the house and Christen hurried up to Sophie’s bedroom. The baby was fussing, clearly upset by something.

“Hey, baby girl, what’s going on?” cooed Christen, picking the little girl up, who kept squirming and crying. “Shhh, it’s ok”.

Christen put her daughter against her chest, holding her head and neck carefully, and started rocking her and singing softly to calm her down. After a few minutes, Sophie stopped crying and her breath went back to normal. Her eyes were still wide open, though, a sign that she didn’t intend to go back to sleep anytime soon. For now, the baby just seemed content with listening to her Mom’s heartbeat and voice while the woman rocked her quietly.

“Are you feeling better now, sweetie?” Christen asked softly, giving Sophie her pacifier and kissing her head. “Did you just miss me?”

Christen moved towards the window to draw the blinds so that there’d be at least a tenuous light coming from outside into the bedroom. Sophie moved in Christen’s arms, now looking curiously at her. The girl was an incredibly curious baby, even more than Josh had been when he was her age. She constantly paid attention to everything around her, excited to discover every new little thing the world had to offer her.

Christen sat down on the rocking chair that was next to the crib and slowly started rocking herself and Sophie. The baby relaxed in her arms, enjoying the soft movement and being cradled, and played with some of her Mom’s wild curls, not taking her eyes away from her. The woman’s green eyes were also fixed on her baby, her little girl. The one she had dreamed about so much for months. The one who almost always had a smile on her face for her mothers and her brother. She just was a very happy baby, and that was everything Christen wished for her.

“Hello, beautiful. You’re so cute, Soph. I love you so so so much", cooed Christen, looking into her daughter's brown eyes and gently stroking her head, which was lightly covered by thin light-brown hair. And oh, those eyes were so familiar. They were the ones that had made her fall in love twice. First, with Tobin, and then with this little girl that was everything to her.

Christen always knew she wanted to have children that were biologically hers and Tobin’s. Tobin didn’t really mind if her babies were not biologically hers; she knew she would love them more than anything, and that was everything that mattered. So when Christen suggested that they used Tobin’s eggs for their next baby, Tobin had not been entirely convinced about it. Josh was absolutely perfect and the kindest kid on Earth, so why would they need her eggs for their second child? But Christen had kindly insisted. She wanted a mini-Tobin in their lives. She wanted to see every day another pair of those same light-brown eyes that wouldn’t stop looking at her now.

Christen smiled, now gently running her fingers over her daughter’s forehead and then over her button nose. She adored how soft the baby’s skin was and the way she smelled. It was so pure, so new, so full of life. Carefully, Christen took out the pacifier from Sophie’s mouth.

“Wanna give a smile to your Mom? Yes? Let’s see that beautiful smile", Christen cooed adoringly, stroking Sophie’s chubby cheeks and tickling her neck a bit. She got what she wanted: the newborn gave her the most beautiful and pure baby laugh. Sophie’s eyes shone bright now, looking lovingly at her Mom and moving her arms excitedly.

“Who’s the happiest baby? Yes, you are", kept cooing Christen, picking Sophie up by her armpits so that they could both be eye to eye. The baby just kept laughing and moving her short arms and legs while her Mom showered her with kisses.

“I love you, my beautiful baby girl", Christen said, hugging Sophie and giving the baby another kiss on her nose.

Sophie grabbed her Mom’s oversized t-shirt in tiny fists and started squirming a bit.

“Are you hungry, love?” Christen asked, cradling the baby again and lifting up her t-shirt a bit so that the girl could find her nipple. The woman hissed softly when the girl latched on and started feeding herself.

Christen leaned back on the rocking chair and relaxed, looking at the big window, where the sun was finally starting to shine through, announcing the beginning of a new day. She felt at peace. The last few weeks had been stressful for her, but at this very moment, she felt very grateful. The house was still quiet; her loving wife and her beautiful son were sleeping peacefully; her baby girl was safe and happy in her arms, looking at her adoringly; and she, Christen, could physically feel how her initial anxiety had almost completely faded away. Everything was OK. She was OK. And if she started feeling not so okay again, she had people who loved her and supported her and would help her get through rougher times. But now, now she felt an overwhelming sense of peace and gratefulness invading her.

She stroked Sophie’s cheek while the baby suckled happily and felt another new wave of gratefulness. Her pregnancy with Sophie had been a dream and so had been the birth, maybe because it was her second baby and she was more relaxed and experienced now. Besides that, she always had Tobin and Josh by her side, ready to help her with everything, including hugging and kissing her when she needed them most.  And even if she was tired these days, Christen couldn’t help but feel, once again, very grateful with Tobin for realizing she had been a little bit on edge lately and doing everything she could to give her the personal space she needed. From taking care of Josh most of the time to being quick to get Sophie so that Christen would not have to get up, Tobin was always there for her and their family.

Christen and Sophie sat down on the rocking chair, enjoying that peaceful moment together but each lost in their own worlds. The baby was eating quietly, her tiny hands on her Mom’s breast, and her eyes were still fixed on one of the most important people in her life. Christen alternated between looking at her baby and at the sun rising outside.

The sunlight was now slowly starting to illuminate the girl’s bedroom and Christen smiled at seeing the cute animals painted on the walls. They reminded her of all the weeks Tobin, Josh and her had spent together painting this room and debating which colors to use. Well, in all honesty, Tobin had actually done most of the painting, but Josh and Christen had definitely tried to help…

And speaking of Tobin…

“Hey, there", a soft whisper came from the door, making Christen turn back. Her wife was there, rubbing sleep from her eyes and still in her shorts and t-shirt.

“Hey, Tobes", Christen smiled, while Tobin approached her two girls.

Tobin kissed Christen softly on the lips and then looked at Sophie.

“Someone’s awake early", cooed Tobin, smiling and moving her hand over the baby’s round belly. Sophie turned her attention to her Mommy and grabbed one of her fingers. “Hello, my love”.

After kissing her daughter’s forehead, Tobin grabbed a chair that was nearby and sat down next to Christen and Sophie, feeling privileged to witness this very special moment of pure love and bonding.

“So how was yoga?” Tobin asked softly, stroking her wife’s hair lovingly.

“Good. Really good, actually. I also meditated, and I feel so much better now. I needed this", answered Christen, looking at Tobin. “I’ll try to do it every day".

“Whatever helps you and gives you time for yourself is good, babe. You deserve it. And remember, you can always talk to me if you’re not feeling super well and need extra help. We’re a team", said Tobin, smiling at Christen.

“I know. Thanks, Toby", whispered Christen, kissing her wife sweetly, hoping to convey with that kiss all the gratefulness she felt.

Sophie released Christen’s nipple with a sigh, indicating she was satisfied.

“You ready, baby girl?”, cooed Tobin, as enamored with her daughter as Christen was. In her short life, Sophie had quickly become a bright light for her moms and her brother. She was so, so loved. “Come here with Mommy, we’ll go get breakfast ready and… ohhh, do I smell a stinky one? We’ll have to take care of that” said Tobin, picking up the baby and wrinkling her nose.

“Good luck with that, babe. Next one’s on me", chuckled Christen. “I’m gonna take a quick shower and then I’ll come back to help you. Are you OK on your own for a bit or do you need me?”

“I’m good. We’ve got this, don’t we, Soph?” Tobin asked to the baby, who just laughed happily in reply.

“I’ll be back in a few minutes. I love you both", said Christen, hugging her wife and their baby and thinking about how lucky she was and how, even if her life had had some rough patches, now it was even better than what she could have ever imagined.