“No, no, Emily,” she heard Dan saying, “You’ll wake up Mommy.”
“But I don’t even know where the book is,” James said.
“Whining won’t find it,” Dan said, “Go look in your backpack, your bedroom, under your bed. It is Saturday, you don’t have much time. Back to school on Monday.”
Maggie’s eyes flew open. Dan! It was Saturday! Was it just a dream? Maggie staggered out of her twisted blankets, “Dan!” she called, “Dan!”
She burst outside her bedroom door. Dan and James were standing there, outside the boys’ room. Dan was holding Henry. Henry’s nose was runny and he was rubbing his messy face with his arm. His eyes lit up when he saw Maggie and he reached for her. Emily stopped her before she could go any further. She wrapped her arms around Maggie’s legs, “Mommy!” she said.
Maggie swooped Emily into her arm. “My baby!” she said, “My babies!” She took Henry in her other arm. One of the twins needed a diaper change but she didn’t care. She had her babies back! She leaned over and kissed James on the forehead. He backed away. Dan was giving her a strange look. “I’m so happy to see you all!” Maggie said.
Dan smiled. “We’re happy to see you too,” he said. “Especially the one with the dirty diaper…” Dan gave her a wink. “I’ll change him though. That’s where I was going when I stopped to talk to James.”
Maggie followed Dan to the twins’ room. She reached out and touched Lily’s door as she walked down the hall. It was covered with papers and the smudges of tape marks.
“It’s all so messy!” Maggie said happily as she accidentally kicked one of the twins’ toy robots.
Dan gave her another strange look. “Did you have a good night’s sleep?” he asked, “Good dreams?”
“Yeah,” Maggie said, “I…guess so. Odd dreams.”
“Mo-om,” Lily called up the stairs, “Come and see what I made.”
Maggie walked down the stairs. “Where’s the tree?” she asked.
Lily looked up from her art project spread across the kitchen table.
“Mom,” she said, “We took it down yesterday, remember?”
“Oh, yeah” Maggie said. “Show me what you’ve made.”
While Lily was explaining the complicated picture of a castle and knights and dragons and unicorns, Maggie glanced again into the family room where the tree had been. She had no recollection of taking the tree down. Then she saw the quilt folded neatly on the end of the sofa.
It was the same quilt she had been working on.