The room was hot and sticky, the a/c having become overwhelmed and useless. Doug had the look on his face that said he wanted to go lie in bed and relax. Like the children, he gets over-stimulated by noise and activity. Tommy was chattering about his day in his repetitive way that makes it hard to remain focused on the meaning behind his words. Refreshed from an hour and half nap, an hour and a half spent attached to Mom, an hour and a half that might have been longer had her arms and back not screamed in pain, awakened by Mom’s uncomfortable shifting of his sweaty, sticky little body, Evan resumed his endless efforts to climb the furniture until someone interrupted and placed him back on the ground to begin his climb again. Doug mumbled an idle threat to hang the chairs from the ceiling to slow Evan down. Noah’s cartoons made shrieking noises from the back of the house where he sat slack jawed, watching the meaningless colors. Amy laughed out loud and Evan answered her with a loud guffaw. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud along with the two of them. In that moment I wished that time would stand still just as I realized that my teeth were showing and I quickly put my lips together to hide them. My eyes filled with tears and I felt fear that there was too much happiness in the room. Happiness that I didn’t deserve or wasn’t allowed to experience. I busied myself with cleaning up the dinner mess, praying that there wouldn’t be punishment for being happy.