It’s late in the day. Your sister has already turned in for the night,dreaming of  visiting far away lands with Shimmer and Shine and adventures with Dora the Explorer.

You have little notion of falling asleep,however,and most definitely not without your human teddy bear.

“Mama,come!Mama sit!”

You will cry,patting the edge of the bed,the lovely big double bed,adorned in pink,with lots of plump,inviting cushions and fairy lights coiled around headboard.A bed fit for a princess,for you,our little princess. A bed we bought for you, our love, but also a bed to keep you in your room for the night, and us in ours.

But come a certain time, usually around 3-4a.m., you will wake. Every night. Without fail.

Sometimes I will pre-empt your waking. Even when I am absolutely shattered and praying for just one night’s uninterrupted slumber; sometimes something in my brain will cause me to wake before you do. I will listen for your little steps as they make their way in the darkness out of your bedroom into the hall and into our room. You always come to my side of the bed.

“Up-ee, mama!”

You will whisper in the early hours and I will take you into my arms and lay you in the bed next to us. You welcome the cuddles, (as do I) and we will both settle down again for the night. Until moments later, when you will raise your sleepy head again.

“Water, mama?”

A gentle request, so softly spoken; like the sweetest ask any human has ever made of another. How can I refuse? Most nights I remember to bring a glass of water upstairs and leave it on my bedside locker. Some nights  I forget so I must leave the warmth of the bed, and head downstairs to fill the glass. With your thirst quenched, you snuggle down once more, and the three of us return to sleep, for perhaps an hour or so, until your sister comes looking for a slice of the bedtime pie.

Your grandmother likes to joke about how having bought a big four bedroom house in the country, all this family really needs is a small one bedroom apartment in the city because all four of us end up in the same bed. Every night. Both myself and your father give out about our sleepless nights but the truth is one day these nocturnal “water mamas” will cease. These delicious early morning cuddles will be gone so it seems a small price to pay right now-sleepless nights for unconditional love.

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