In the morning, just as daylight is breaking through the slats of the bedroom blind, my son comes into bed with me. I hear the gentle click of his bedroom door opening and sense, rather than see, the shaft of dappled light thrown out by the nightlight he insists we keep on in his room. He pauses for a while; assessing the mood of the house and gauging if it is morning yet. I hear him trot across the landing in that gait peculiar to toddlers, which is neither a walk nor a run. I know without looking that he is trailing a muslin on the floor, like Christopher Robin with Pooh, and I think to myself once again that soon we must wean him from this comforting rag. Carefully, silently he creeps into our room and stands at my side of the bed. His face inches from mine, he gently strokes my forearm in our own private sign language. Eyes closed, I reach down and scoop him under the covers, where he curls within my folds like a cat. He has not been so close since he was inside me, yet even now our breathing falls together and we are as one. I can feel his heartbeat against my chest, and smell the sweet milky breath of a baby still. I want to keep this moment forever; to revel in the silence of a contented child; to bask in the heat generated by his sleepy body. I am consumed with love for this child, and feel an intense desire to stop him growing up; to protect him from a world which will break his heart and his spirit. I can’t bear to think of the teenage angst that will torture his mind, and I fear for the future when I cannot be there to hold his hand. And I finally understand what it is to be a parent.