This time, yes

It’s Monday morning. You wake but no one’s shrieking. You rose without a child alarm dobbing in their brother or telling you that their stomach’s sore. Last night the kids weren’t starting with a virus just bad enough to keep them back from school. No teary face startled you at 2am with diabetes nightmares or demands for stickers. Your partner didn’t snore.

Your slippers are beside your bed. Both of them. And they’re Lego free. Your dressing gown is hanging on its usually empty hook. You notice your utter lack of headache as you snug it on.

There’s no crying in the kitchen as you’re walking down the corridor. You find three heads close together at the bench. Surely they are fighting. But when you listen close the oldest is curling out a story. A slapstick tale about a “man who actually had a goatee and then fell into a pit”. They greet you with good morning and then continue laughing. The breakfast that you make them is mostly eaten up.

You remember that it’s library day for one of them. The book is on his bookshelf, not squashed behind his bed. He may have even read it. When you scratch around for coins you find enough for all their lunches. You won’t need to raid their money box today.

Your oldest is outside without coercion. He kicks the soccer ball and doesn’t slip in dog poo. You won’t need to scrub his shoes while he disgusted sobs. Your next one’s on the trampoline and hasn’t cried from scraping. Somehow they’re fully uniformed including matching socks.

The dog’s not even barking at the neighbours.

Your youngest is packing pictures in her school bag. You hadn’t forgotten to print them out in time for news. She hadn’t put them in recycling or spilt her milk all over. You won’t need to run to the computer shouting in your dressing gown.

You call the kids to the car and they come. But you only called them once and didn’t even bellow. You remind them to brush their teeth and they say “already done”. You remind them then to get their bags but they have them on their backs and are thick in conversation. You step back a little somewhat hugely stunned.

On the drive to school the wind lifts leaves from Autumn trees. The youngest asks to open up the sunroof and this time you say yes. No one sneezes or complains about the cold. They reach their arms up high, laughing at the rustling. You drive around the block a few times extra, waiting for a leaf to float on in.

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