When Bug was very small, I had a nightmare. Like most dreams, the details don't make any sense now that I am awake, but the thought of it still leaves a heavy pit in my stomach and makes it hard to swallow.
In my dream, Bug died. It was so real, so vivid, that I woke up sobbing. My pillow was soaked with tears, and I choked as I gulped in huge swallows of air, trying to breathe with my chest constricted with pain. I rolled over and threw my arms around Paddy, burying my face into his shoulder. He woke with a start, struggling to make sense of his hysterical wife crying in the dark.
Through my tears, I told him about the dream. The telling of it brought on a fresh round of tears. He hushed me, his chin resting on the top of my head while he rubbed my back.
Like always, he knew just what to do.
He peeled my arms from around his neck, threw off the covers, and climbed out of bed. He walked into the nursery and scooped our sleeping Bug out of her crib and brought her to me in the dark. We snuggled her in between us, smelling her fuzzy hair and stroking her little baby head.
When I remember that night, I can see us lying there in bed. We are all tangled up in sheets, our little huddle of three, and Bug breathes deep and slow. I am sniffling and hiccuping, and all that imaginary pain and real life comforting means we love each other, and we are a family.