I lay awake in the early hours of this morning, watching my beautiful babies peacefully slumbering alongside me in the bed. I know that this morning, more than any other morning in recent days, both children needed the comfort of being in Mummy’s arms and resting with me. After weeks of (im)patient waiting, yesterday afternoon the phone-call finally came and at the remarkably short notice that I had been anticipating. I had less than 24 hours to book train tickets, pack a case, prepare crib notes for Mike and contact everyone who has anything to do with M to let them know about his hospital stay over the next 3 weeks, as well as the everyday tasks of cooking dinner, making packed lunches and sorting school clothes for the next day.
Whilst I whirled around the house in a haze of slightly panicked chaos, the children spent their last evening together for a while in typical fashion – hurtling from cuddling up to each other to threatening to scratch the other’s eyes out in a matter of minutes. M was particularly hyper and could barely sit still in his seat. Instead, he bounced, jigged and ran around the house like a mad thing, the clearest sign that his stress levels were high and gradually rising even higher.
We had a “last supper”, together as a family. One chosen by M. His consultant had suggested that he could relax his diet just a little before coming off food altogether and so Mike and I had expected him to choose something like fish and chips or Chinese. Instead, he requested the item that had been at the top of his Christmas list this year – an egg. So, the four of us enjoyed a poached egg on toast as well as a “dippy” egg with toast soldiers. It was a simple meal, but one that he heartily enjoyed and devoured with gusto.
Finally bathed and in their pyjamas, Mike read them a bedtime story, whilst I ran through my mental checklist and gathered up the last few bits to accompany us to London. G settled to sleep as quickly as ever, whilst M was awake until 11pm. He finally slept, snuggled into my side, with my hand tightly gripped in his much smaller one. Mike carried him back to his own bed and then we tried to sleep ourselves, knowing that, for me in particular, sleep would be a precious commodity over the next 3 weeks on a hospital ward.
I’m not to sure what time G crept in to our room, but I was suddenly aware of her presence on my side of the bed and she was quick to climb in for a cuddle as soon as I invited her in. My big girl doesn’t need my comfort so much these days, especially at night, but tonight she needed to feel Mummy near and I loved having that opportunity for an extended cuddle. Less than an hour later, just as I was drifting back to sleep, I heard the sound of footsteps running across the landing and in climbed M, snuggling down in his preferred position between Mike and me.
Our bed isn’t really big enough to fit 4 these days, but tonight, of all nights, I relished the quiet opportunity to have our whole family together, in peaceful harmony; something that won’t happen again until M and I return from our adventures at GOSH,