Connecting the dots.
On Sunday morning I was lying in bed, awake but not awake if you know what I mean. My brain was buzzing and I was considering getting up but my eyes were closed and I wasn't in a hurry to open them.
I felt a figure lying next to me, a figure that was not there when I went to sleep and was now sticking a pair of freezing cold feet under my pajama jacket.
It was my 6-year old daughter and she had climbed into our bed in the middle of the night as she often does. She now lay between me and my wife in her contorted way of sleeping that resembles a body that fell out of the sky from a very great height and splayed limbs in every direction at angles usually only acheivable by ostriches or years of yoga training.
Very often this means I will end up with feet on my face and my wife will end up with fingers up her nose and a heavy head on her stomach. This time my wife was getting a break and she was right up against me; her feet and knees were up againsts my back and her head was right next to mine. I could feel her breath on my face once I was able to turn around in her direction (a harder task than you think since I was basically clinging to the edge of the bed with my arse-cheeks by this point).
I lay there with my eyes still closed, feeling happy and protective and warm. My brain is telling me that this could be the good old days. This is one of those moments that when I am an old man and she is grown up, I will be to grasp onto this memory and smile and feel that same warmth and protection no matter what the future holds. It is a feeling I never want to end. I am like this for a while, just savoring the moment. I listen to the rythm of her breating and feel the inhale then the exhale on my face. It is perfect and nothing can spoil it.
A few minutes later something happens and we switch places. A memory rises from the depths of my sub-conciousness and in this memory I am the child and I am lying right next to my Mum. I can feel HER breath on my face.
It shocks me because it is so vivid and real and I want to open my eyes but I don't want to lose the moment or the connection to my Mum who has been dead for 8 years. This might sound spooky but it is far from it, I feel the same sense of warmth and protectiveness that I had towards my daughter before except that this time I feel like they are being offered to me. I have an overwhelming sense that everything is going to be alright.
I now lie there listening to my Mum breathing. I remember this feeling so strongly that I recall I used to time my own breathing to breathe in when she was doing the same. I had this idea in my head that when people breathed out they only breathed out the bad air that your body did not want. Since we were lying so close together I could not breathe in when she was breathing out or I'd only get the bad air.
As I lie there happier than I've been in months I realise that I've discovered something very primal, something which is always there but rarely acknoledged. A connection between a parent and a child that, no matter what happens in ones life, never goes away, and no matter what I know I am incredibly lucky to have reached this point.
Long may it last.