“Mom. If I stay in this spot, it will get cozier,” she whispers into my ear.

Her curly light brown hair rubs against my cheek as we sit, embracing, on the green sectional. Our “morning hug” ritual. As she speaks, I smell a wisp of her sour morning breath. I notice she is wearing the sweater from yesterday underneath her pajama top, its bulky collar bulging out, surely making things quite uncomfortable. But she doesn’t appear to mind. She is happy and light and hopeful for another day spent with….me.

This is my sweet Eve.

It’s 6am and I’ve been up for an hour, writing. She’s likely been up for that same hour, maybe more, playing in bed with her Polly Pockets and singing to herself. And, like it does every morning, some strange internal clock tells her to come upstairs at 6am to watch My Little Pony in our room.

Eve is what you would call my “rainbow baby.” The baby I had after the loss of my second daughter, Sophia. And, like a rainbow, she is something beautiful and full of light that appeared in the midst of darkness and clouds. She turned four this past October. We had a Mexican fiesta and I made a six-layer rainbow cake. I didn’t even make the connection until just now.  One day she’ll understand. She’ll understand that there was once another child who drank from her sippy cups. Another child who had curls covering her head. Another child who we loved and dreamed through. She’ll understand that she is here because we chose life over grief.

My 7-year-old daughter, Annabelle, would argue that it’s all because of her curly hair that people notice Eve. And it’s true…her hair is a work of art; like spun gold. Strangers will come over and run their fingers through it. My mom says that, like my hair as a child, her curls are so tight you could hide little toys in them.

Eve likes “hot pink strawberry milk,” puts eye shadow on her eyebrows, and will tell you her sister Annabelle doesn’t like her very much. She has a half-inch gap between her front teeth and an outie belly button that you can sometimes see through her shirt. She plays with anything that is “mini sized” and has been called a “leader” in her preschool class. She sings along loudly to the vacation bible school CD in the car and prefers orange to any other color. She is quirky and funny. “Fascinating to watch” as my grandmother would say.

The other morning as I was trying to get three kids ready for school, I thought about the pure joy and relief that would come when they all boarded the same school bus and went to school for an entire day. I would have entire days to accomplish things again. Entire days to organize and work and be productive in a way that I haven’t known for many years. I want time to speed up so badly. But then a shred of sadness creeps in and I realize that I also want it to stand still. So I get to keep these morning hugs and baby curls. I want to stay in this place with my children for as long as possible.

But no matter where time stands, Eve will be that shining ray of light that appeared out of darkness and clouds.

Yes, my sweet Eve. You are right. If I stay in this spot, it will get cozier.