(Artwork by Pascal Campion)
It’s 4.10 am on Christmas morning and I’ve totalled all of two hours broken sleep. Between the dog, my husband and my eldest boy, it’s been a long night, and I’m laying here listening to the wind scream outside.
The sheets are crumpled, the edges slipped off the mattress where I’ve tossed and turned all night. The boiler is kicking into action with its familiar whoomph in the corner of the bedroom. The dog pads gently into the hallway downstairs for a drink, his collar clinking the edge of the bowl the way it always does. The front door creaks as he sinks down against it, settling once more.
The minutes tick by. 04.16.
The wind chimes rattle in the garden, a pretty little trill that irritates me more often than it soothes. My youngest boy calls out in his sleep – my little chatterbox, even in his dreamlands.
There is a break in the wind and silence engulfs me. A rare thing when you live on a main road, and I love these empty streets. It’s ghostly and eerie and I love to watch the emptiness under the glow of warm streetlights. A tabby cat runs across a neighbour’s garden, jauntily perching momentarily on their wall before tumbling down gracefully and disappearing into the darkness.
It’s ticking closer to morning and the boys will begin to stir soon. I love how all three boys get up well before dawn. The magic of Christmas morning will begin, if it hasn’t already. Tiredness engulfs me, but these quiet moments alone are some of my favourites before a long day.
I’m excited to see the boys open their gifts. We have chocolate croissants wedged in the fridge ready for the oven. We have fresh coffee in abundance and a comfy sofa. We’re with the people we love most in the world. And tired or not, surely there’s no better place in the world to be.