Walking away from a sleeping child is the hardest thing to do.
I’ve fed them lunch, read them their stories, patted them to sleep and darkened the room. And as I pick my diary, my handbag, slip my mobile into my pocket and look in the mirror, the Mama disappears and the journalist appears.
Except that a part of the image stays fuzzy and vague. The outline blurs. I blink away tears. I do this often enough but that doesn’t make it easier. There’s something about lacy lashes fanning out on chubby cheeks that makes me go weak at the knees. Little bodies tucked between the pillows, stuffed toys piled around them. A fortress against the real world.
They’re small, weak, defenceless and asleep; left behind at their most vulnerable. I’ve told them I won’t be there when they wake up but it doesn’t help. I delay. I write a few lines in a quick email. I straighten the sheets. I rearrange the pens on my table. And then I know I can’t delay anymore. I must leave. Once I get into the car and drive away. Once I meet the adult world and start the business talk I will be fine. I know I will.
I shut the door behind me quietly, and leave Coke Studio (My God, Pepsi, how are you EVER going to top this?!!) playing for them to wake up to. And I tell myself for the nth time that I’m going to stop doing this. Soon. Someday. When?