I felt, rather than saw, Tracey leave our bed.
My eyes were still shut, although I’d been awake for five minutes or so. Feigning sleep is an important part of the game.
I waited, enjoying the warmth of my bed and the sounds of my family in the kitchen.
I tried to listen in to the conversations. There was something about not being able to find uniforms, and something else about porridge.
I’m not a huge porridge fan, myself. But if someone brought me a bowl of it I wouldn’t complain.
I may have drifted off a little at this point. Not for long, mind. Maybe a minute. Maybe two. Just one of those moments where you might have gone back to sleep but didn’t. Like when you go to turn off a light and flick the switch, only it snaps back and the light remains on.
There was some whining from the kitchen as someone, possibly our second youngest, was asked to hurry up.
I figured it wouldn’t be long now. I rolled towards my bedside table and snuck a look so I could bring the glass of water over and take a quick sip. Then I was back to pretending to be asleep.
And nothing happened.
Except Tracey was getting a bit louder. She wasn’t yelling. It was more like she wasn’t trying so hard to keep her voice down.
Someone else needed a uniform, and suddenly there was movement at the end of my bed.
“Here,” said Tracey, and I distinctly heard the sound of fabric being tossed and caught.
Then I was alone in the room again.
I decided it was time to get moving.
A minute later I was in the kitchen, dodging scrambling children as I made my way to the coffee machine.
“Morning,” I muttered nonchalantly.
I got a few kisses, but Tracey didn’t even make eye contact. No doubt she was a bit pissed at my sleep in.
I leaned back against the bench, sipping my first coffee of the day and hoping like crazy the phone wasn’t going to ring while Tracey finished making the lunches and suggested in an increasingly high pitched voice that children find their own shoes and socks.
I made myself a second cup of coffee and found a new section of the bench to lean against and watch her work.
Any second, I thought to myself, she’s going to lose her shit at me and then I’ll have her.
But it didn’t come to that.
Tracey picked up the butter, shoved a lid back on and went to the fridge. She swung the door open and almost immediately I heard a sharp intake of breath.
“Kids!” she yelled out. “Kids! Come to the kitchen. Quickly!”
Tracey had seen the mushrooms in the crisper which she’d promised to make me for breakfast.
Within ten seconds the kitchen was filled with our five little munchkins, all looking at their Mum and wondering what the problem was.
“Altogether,” she said in a sing-song voice, directing their attention towards me. “Happy Birthday to you…”
Tracey forgetting my special day? I can use this for years. This is the gift which will keep on giving. I seriously couldn’t have asked for a better present. Thanks guys x
“Raising a family on little more than laughs”
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