Miss M is curled up beside me. It’s 8.30am and I have already phoned the school as M has croup and has had a rough night and Miss E is also shattered with a chesty cough and is still asleep.
We lie quietly, the silence a pleasant contrast to the interrupted dark hours of coughing and crying. My small girl turns to me, her head resting on her elbow, her hand on her cheek, and says in a soft clear voice;
Miss M: ”Mummy, this bed is a bed for two people.”
I gaze slowly from left to right, taking in where her feet end and further down where my own rest, then nod and meet her brown grey eyes.
Me: ”It is a big bed isn’t it sweetie?”
She takes a breath then frowns and purses her lips:
Miss M: ”And Daddy’s bed is a bed for two people.”
Me: ”Well yes it can be.”
She grabs Barky and holds him in the air above her, then lifts her feet to meet his soft fabric ones.
Miss M: ”And it’s for a Mummy and a Daddy. ”
My heart sinks a little.
Me: ”But your Mummy and Daddy won’t be sharing a big bed again M because we’re not together like that anymore. If Mummy ever meets someone else and falls in love with them, or Daddy ever meets someone else and falls in love with them, then that other person might share the bed, but Mummy and Daddy won’t be in the same bed again.”
She is quiet for just a second or two, then she speaks, a rise in her voice, a spark of worry in her tone.
Miss M: ”But if you fall in love with someone will HE be my Daddy?”
I sit up and pull her onto my knee, gangly little legs and all.
Me: ”No babe, no. Your Daddy is always your Daddy, and your Mummy is always your Mummy. You have a Mummy and Daddy who love you very much and who will always be your Mummy and Daddy. Always. If Mummy fell in love with someone else she would want him to be your friend, but you already have a lovely Daddy. And the same if Daddy met another lady. Mummy would still be your Mummy. Ok?”
Miss M: ”Ok.”
I squeeze her tight, and she allows me to hold her for a while before wiggling free and sliding off my bed.
Me: If you need to talk about it anymore you can sweetie, ok? But your Mummy and Daddy are forever.
She nods as she ambles out of the room, her small soft dog dangling behind her, and my heart is once more a gooey mess upon the floor.