I tuck you in, kiss you goodnight and walk over to Ammani’s bed to do the same. I look at the tiny form so engulfed in the wide bed that I feel remorse. I blow you an extra kiss to keep my fears at bay and walk out into the darkness. I pause for a moment and decide to sit on the carpet between your rooms, my back against the wall and listen to you fall asleep.
I hear you sing songs in a clear voice and my maternal heart goes aflutter. I smile to myself and tune my ears to the other side. You, Ammani are having a conversation with your pillow and a multitude of imaginary characters. I sigh and resign myself to wait it out. In ten minutes, the sounds die down and I decide against my reason to tiptoe into your rooms to gaze at your sleeping forms.
I open the door and walk quietly to look at you and see the clear irises of your eyes looking back at me unfazed. I pat your head and whisper for you to close your eyes before heading out to the other room where deep even breathing reassures me all is well. I fuss around with Pattani’s blanket and come back to you. Kissing you again I walk out and resume my position. I hear shuffling sounds followed by a giggle from the other side.
Puzzled I walk in and find your bed empty. The giggle is infectious and I hasten to the other bed and see you snuggling against pattani who sleeps blissfully unaware. I scoop you in my arms and plop you into your bed. This time I lock the interconnecting doors and close the door behind me. Another 15 minutes later you are asleep too. I stand, the light of the street lamp pouring into your room outlining your tiny frame and say a million prayers.
There is quite something to say about watching your children sleep. A peace so disquieting that it shakes you up. It makes you think of the many years ahead where tousled beds and sleepy kids at the breakfast table will be the norm. It forces you to still and experience the childhood that is fleeting. It makes you whisper in the dark and mouth wordless I love yous.