I lie in bed at night, drifting off and hear the feet approaching, steadily pacing along the landing. Shortly after, a small, hot body climbs over me and takes her place between myself and her father. She wedges herself against me, claiming the pillow as entirely hers. It’s funny how a four year old can take up seventy percent of a super-king sized bed.
Flashback to, maybe, six years earlier, and though the child was different, the scenario was the same. Different home too, homes actually, but still the patter of feet along the landing followed by the press of toasty, soft child.
It sounds cosy and heartwarming, presented like this. My children seeking comfort from my presence in the dark of the night. Last night the smallest joined us early on, as is her routine. She was hot and restless so scratched and squirmed her way through the long night. Not to be left out, I was also woken some small time later by the largest, standing forlornly at the bedside. I joined him in his bed. He writhed. I returned to my own bed. Smallest continued to writhe. I saw every hour until six am, when I lay waiting for the alarm to kick me out of bed at six thirty.
I know that one day, far from now, I will look back on these days and remember them with fondness. Even now, sometimes – sometimes – when she comes, I stare, and gently brush the matted hair from her face. Even now, sometimes – sometimes – I look at my boy, his stretching limbs, and struggle to remember the toddler who sucked his thumb next to me at night.
But mostly, now , I just want to sleep.