There is a part of the day that perhaps I hold the most fondly above all. It is a part that goes unseen, unheard, and one that all mothers have a talent and tendency to do ritually.
When the day is over and after all their day of adventures, of wondering,of pursuing their desires the children are tucked into bed, we read them a story that may quieten their busy minds or perhaps invite wonderful dreams, and then, in the silence of their room I sit beside them as they sleep. Stroking their hair away from their face, absorbing their troubles. I watch them a while as their day echos through me. Yet we are actually doing something that every mother knows is really rather magical indeed.
Last night as the girls fell asleep against the meandering rhythms of their undulating thoughts I remembered a passage at the beginning of 'Peter Pan' in which J.M Barrie describes the ritual beautifully.
Mrs Darling first heard of Peter when she was tidying up her children's minds. It is the nightly custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds and put things straight for the next morning, repacking into their proper places the many articles that have wandered during the day. If you could keep awake (but of course you can't) you would see your own mother doing this, and you would find it very interesting to watch her. It is quite like tidying up drawers. You would see her on her knees, I expect, lingering humorously over some of your contents, wondering where on earth you had picked this thing up, making discoveries sweet and not so sweet, pressing this to her cheek as if it were as nice as a kitten, and hurriedly stowing that out of sight. When you wake in the morning, the naughtiness and evil passions with which you went to bed have been folded up small and placed at the bottom of your mind; and on top, beautifully aired, are spread out your prettier thoughts, ready for you to put on.
Walking away from their room into the silence of our hushed home I discover the paused play, the what grown ups call 'mess' but is in actual fact the travelling of their minds. A map of their thoughts interpreted by their play; the pink dinsosaur paused in his position hanging from the plank of the pirate ship, the circle of dolls and doted upon characters still awating another slice of cake, a pile of pictures and beginnings of stories interupted by annother idea and abandoned at the concept of creating a huge castle/town using every piece of lego, building blocks and boxes they can find.
It is this smile I wear at this moment, the smile that forgets the most mundane of motherly chores, that smile that obliterates harder moments. It is a smile that if had words would say I am happy. I am floating above happy, and, this life we have together is an adventure I never want to stop. And so, then, as the children sleep and dream I tidy away the day ready for a new. Beacuse, the adventures of tomrrow never stop.
Whilst Neverland may be second to the right and straight on til morning mine is right here.
Picture taken from 'An A-Z of Sisters Guild - B is for Bedtime'
This is part of our 'once upon a week' collection. We also have other stories and features including our 'Monday Makery', 'I Spy' , 'The Art of Living', and our weekly 'Wedesday Woo'.
If you'd like to receive our weekly newsletter to receive offers and news and find out the about our new collections sign up below.