Bed-time. The sweetest part of the night.
And I say that not just because I love my me time, or because I relish spending a few lazy hours just being a grown-up with Bear*, but because saying good-night to my bath-scented children is one of the nicest things no one ever told me I'd love as a Mom.
First to Rosey's room, where she's curled up on her bed, legs planted firmly on top of her covers. (She's very literal about the tucking-in.) So I lift her sweet little pajamaed legs up, smooth the coverlet and Blankie over her and find her Emma-rabbit (Bronwyn is already tucked in at her side.) Kiss her goodnight, recite a quick 'Now I lay me down to sleep**' with her, and then we say goodnight. And it's not just good-night, but it's:
Me: Sweet dreams.
Rosey: I love you, Mama.
Me: I love you too.
Then over to Cass's bedroom, where he waits, feet under his duvet but with his light burning, stealing a few quick minutes to read before bed. Same prayer (he likes to talk about who he's asking God to take care of) and then I find GeorgeJason the dinosaur and Beau and Charlie the dogs and set them around him. Kate the cat (real, not stuffed) is usually up on his bed by now, (he is her boy) and she settles in, purring and talking to him a bit while I fuss with the covers and say my final goodnight, sleep tights, I love yous.
Out in the hall, a smallgirl voice floats out towards me: Mama?
Me: Yes, Rosey-Posey?
Rosey: (there's a small wet thwack as her thumb is taken out of her mouth) Don't let the bed-bugs bite.
Me: You either. I'll see you in the morning, sunshine.
And then there's quiet (maybe a rustling as one or the other turns over in their beds) and a moment before I grip the banister and head downstairs to think
I am so lucky.
*not really a euphemism. Honest.
**We don't say the 'If I should die before I wake' bit, because why would I scare them with that? Instead we say 'Keep me safe all through the night, and wake me with the morning light.' Then we say 'Thank you God, for this good day.'