It’s just past 19h00 – at last. Stories have been read. Teeth brushed. Contact lenses fizzing in neutraliser. Last bedtime ablutions flushed. Prayers. Kisses. Love you’s. Love you too’s. Nighty-night.
And the promise:
‘I’ll come check on you now-now, ok? Just making tea.’
I do about seventeen things really fast because at last I’m hands-free then head for the kitchen where there’s chocolate and Murray and tea and grownup tell-me-your-day conversation. I’m down the passage and I hear it –
And again – still small voice –
Sigh. I guess I said I’d check on them. Surely they’re asleep?
I turn. Tiptoe into the gloom of their ABC-Gruffalo-Pooh-Bear-Wild-Animal-World-Map-Solar-System room. The big brother breathes slow. All run out of fun and resting deep. But the little one – blonde curls restless on his pillow – big eyes peering solemn above the duvet –
‘Mom please you snuggle wif me?’
Something solid in me oozes soft. ‘Sure darling.’
We snuggle. He clutches tight around my neck and declares truth for us both – to comfort and convince – ‘There are no monsters under my bed.’
‘No, none!’ I agree earnestly. ‘No monsters.’
‘I yuv you so much Mom.’
The kettle whistles and the tea can wait. I’m lying with my boy and I’m praying that I’ll keep obeying so he’ll keep remembering that I’ll keep coming back.