I’ve just settled Alpha after he fell out of bed for no apparent reason. He asked for water. And songs. And more water. I complied.
Somewhere in between the requests, my mine wanders. I let it, so I don’t fall asleep. It took me far, far away to a place without my kids…
It is evening. A well-tended open fire crackles invitingly. There is no fire screen to be seen. The poker and matches are in full view and easy reach. There is a faint smell of smoke in the air, but it isn’t oppressive. Underneath that scent lingers the perfume of fresh red roses that are arranged artfully in a crystal vase on a low coffee table. A fresh pot of steaming hot coffee sits close to the edge of the table.
The coffee table sits on a pristine white rug. The floor boards are polished and have never borne the weight of the wheels of a tank engine. The eggshell blue walls of the room are free of dubious smears and are filled with photos of holidays in exotic locations. The deep-seated white leather couches are texta-free and have never once had smushed sultanas cleaned from their zippers. The dark red mohair rug draped over one arm has never been a vital piece of a cubby house.
A large, fingerprint-free flat screen television is mounted on the wall. The entertainment unit does not bear the scars of a hundred dinosaur stomps and is completely child lock free. The collection of movies and tv shows displayed underneath contains nothing suitable to feature on ABC Kids. On the screen is a movie of my own choice without a single animated character or stay-in-your-head-all-day-until-your-ears-bleed theme song.
I have my choice of treat that I do not have to share or hide. My knitting project sits beside me, safe from inquisitive fingers. I can stay up as late as I choose without worry because I can wake as late as I want in the morning. My housekeeper will take care of any cleaning required.
A small, sleepy voice breaks me out of my reverie.
“I’m always safe with my mummy.”
I lean forward and kiss my son’s forehead. I don’t have eggshell blue walls or a spotless home. I certainly don’t have a housekeeper.
But I have him. And his brother. And there is nowhere else in the world I’d rather be than singing my child to sleep – even if I do have to share my treats, and will be woken at least twice before morning.