The ache echoing through my upper body, weary from carrying them both, sometimes simultaneously.
The constant throb in my elbow, tendonitis flaring from lugging a chubby baby in her car seat.
The pressure of his arms, wrapped around my leg as I try to bustle through the house, holding me back, asking me to wait.
His hand in mine, as we walk down a stairs or through a parking lot.
Her hand holding my thumb.
Her weight in my arms as we rock.
The sling digging into my shoulder as she rides on my hip.
His arms and legs wrapped around me when I lift him from his bed.
His hair, soft against my chin as I read to him.
The exhaustion in my back after long mornings at the park, chasing him through the playground while toting her.
Balancing, always balancing, in every way imaginable.
Her fingers exploring my face, weaving through my hair, rubbing my arms.
His body, nestled into mine as we lay in his bed, talking quietly about nothing at all.
The thump, thump, thump of her legs and arms as we relax on the sofa.
The force with which he runs into my arms for a hug when I pick him up at school.
His weight as he tries to wrestle me to the ground.
The pad of my feet and the pounding of my heart as I rush to her room in the wee hours of the morning.
Her cheeks, full and soft.
His, leaner and less soft with every passing day.
The fatigue in my stomach muscles that comes from deep laughter at some outlandish toddler statement.
My aching face from meeting her smiles in kind.
The physicality of mothering to young children is exhausting and demanding.
There is no room for personal space.
No place or time to claim as mine.
And yet, for every one of those moments, there are countless more of beauty and joy and peace.
In a few short years, this period in my life will be over.
I have photographs to remember their expressions, their smiles, the thoughtful looks in their eyes.
Videos to record their voices, their laughter, their songs.
Words to capture my emotions and certain moments that strike me.
But how will I recall these sensations?
When they are grown, when neither wants to be carried or kissed or hugged, will I remember how they felt?
What it was like to hold them?
Will I be able to close my eyes and feel them still?
Will those memories remain, etched forever in my soul?