Her pigtail plaits wilted at the side of her head after a day's worth of play, while her big eyes for once, met mine; a rare thing for a girl who is always so busy in her own imagination.
Never one to miss a beat, she was absolutely right. The patient mummy whose children often ask why she is so silly was for once replaced with a hoarse banshee, half nagging, half braying at my daughters to tidy up, to follow orders, to listen.
Child 1 was in the bath, quietly accepting that mummy was in one of her grumps which soon passes. As I washed her hair, I began thinking of how for the past six months I have tried to capture and value the essence of every moment I have with my girls, understanding so well how these bubbles of time are beautiful and fragile all at once. There's nothing more clarifying than facing your own mortality to understand how valuable life is. And it's not even the big events like birthdays and weddings, although of course they're special too. It's the moments when your 4-year-old stop to pick you a flower, or your 7-year-old is asked to draw a saint in school and illustrates St. Mummy- these are, I guarantee you, the moments to value above all else.
Yet here I was last night, behaving like 'normal', or at least how normal once was, rushing through our nightly routine, stressing about having to read a bedtime story while a stack of work and cleaning were competing for my time.
I raced through the story, no time for the usual songs and silliness that is much a part of our bedtime ritual as going to sleep itself and hastily retreated to the silence of the kitchen. As soon as I made it there I was consumed with guilt for taking my girls for granted and ran back up the stairs with a plan to give them both a big kiss and say sorry for being bad tempered. It had been seconds since I had said goodnight the first time- such is the beauty of living in a small house- and they were both still awake in their bunks.
I got onto Child 2's bed where she was sucking her thumb and sleepily twiddling the nightcap on her favourite dolly. "What are you doing?" she asked.
"I came to see you. I'm sorry I was cross earlier and I love you very much," I said.
"That's ok but can you go now because I am trying to sleep," she said matter of factly and closely followed up with a gentle push to the face to reinforce her point. Not quite the tender moment I was going for so I moved to Child 1.
"Hello, chops," I said. "I also wanted to say sorry to you for being grumpy and that I love you very much."
"That's alright," she said in a tone suggesting she's completely unphased by it all. "We know you have a lot to do sometimes. You've been really poorly but you've still managed to look after us," she added before turning over to sleep.
I made my way back downstairs more slowly this time, realising as I went how much has changed in the past six months- more than anything my priorities on having things versus having time.
|Apparently the girls had nits this week|
Talking of jolly holidays, its only a few days now until what I have termed the 'double off' and today I took myself off into town for some bits. Essentially I raided Select for cheap baggy t-shirts and leggings and the travel toiletries in Superdrug (exotic as I am). With a couple of trash mags and a bag of Jelly Babies to complete my spree, I don't mind telling you I'm ridiculously excited for Friday. Some would say 'gleeful' even and they'd be right. It feels like a milestone albeit alternative.
Things I am blaming cancer for today: something in my eye (damn you eyelashes!), my head hurting after I banged it while cleaning out the rabbits (I didn't realise my ridiculously thick hair had acted as a force field for all these years), my left thumb nail entirely falling off, and shutting a cupboard on my own arm (technically half down to my own clumsiness but cancer still gets the blame because I was reeling from my other injuries when it happened).