One lies softly curled around bear and dog. Hair tousled, mouth open, a gentle rumbling coming from her sleep filled throat. As I clamber over doll and teddy, book and CD, homework, coloured pencils, it strikes me that this one clings to things. Holds on. Surrounds herself with security, the familiar, the loved. And I kiss her sleep sweet cheek and move aside a blonde tress.
The other lays halfway down the bed. Favourite toys are scattered, but for one large shaggy pup who rests upon her small dark head, a nightcap and a cuddle. Covers are pulled up to still baby features. Books lay abandoned on her cool pillow. Yet more have made the journey down to the bean bag beside her bed. I tell her that it’s there for me to sit and read to her, but really it’s there to catch her should she fall. I kiss her warm, slightly damp forehead and pull back the covers a little to cool her down.
And as I leave the room a wave of heart filled tenderness sweeps through me, tinged with a tiny slither of ‘almost’ sadness. Because one has learnt the need to cushion herself. To shield herself from the darkness. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but it’s so like me as a child. I just hope she sees me as a cushion too
The other is less aware of the need for a soft landing. The need to look before you leap, take care, hold on. Those things I repeat to them both, day in day out. She rushes at life without looking back and without looking ahead. Sometimes she fills me with momentary terror, but mostly she lands on her feet
But right now they both sleep. Safe and warm and loved. And I am full.