I love my children best when they’re fresh out of the bath. When the excesses of the day are beginning to fade, and sleep is sneaking up on them despite their attempts to thwart it. They bathe together but are dried separately, taking it in turns to slip out of the soapy water into my warm towelled arms. There they sink into my lap, soporific, regressing to the babyhood they have barely escaped but consider to have left behind during daylight hours.
I towel-dry their hair despite sleepy protestations, then indulge them with warm air from the dryer, playing it over their arms and making them giggle. They lean against me, lulled by the white noise and the rhythmic strokes of the brush through their hair. I drink in the smell of their clean skin and milky breath, marvelling at the differences between three children borne from the same mother. G’s fine golden hair falls into its habitual neat bob, fringe framing her innocent face. Her sister’s wild mop is dark and unruly, over mischievous eyes and a naughty smile. And finally my beautiful boy, baby-soft hair thickening into childhood.
I recall so vividly this same scene thirty years ago; curled in my mother’s lap on the landing after my bath, the gentle stroke of the hairbrush and her soft voice singing and talking to me. I am overwhelmed with emotion that I find myself here with my own three beautiful children, life turning full circle, tradition instinctively passed down through generations. And once again I realise how I am truly blessed to be a mother.