A bedtime moment with Q:
(Scene, a darkened bedroom, a small girl tucked under a huge duvet, her night-dark eyes already at half-mast. A mommy sitting on top of the duvet, holding her daughters slender, sleep-warm hand)
Q: (tugging my hand inexorably toward her) Why you have to leave, mommy?
Me: Because I have to work, and it's time for you to sleep. But you're my girl, forever and ever, and I love you more than anything in the whole, wide world. More than the moon and all the stars.
Q: (gripping my hand a little tighter) And no one takes me away.
Me: And no one ever takes you away, not ever, never, ever.
Q: (smiles sleepily, and then raises one drowsy hand and carefully traces the outlines of my face in the air) That's you, mommy. I just drew your face. That's you.
I waited until I was outside her room to melt into a puddle of warm butter on the floor.