It is evening, sometime back in March.
We have had dinner, and the big boys have all had their showers.
I am sitting in Angus and Bear’s room with the laundry basket before me. I can hear Rick helping Bear to wash his hair in the bathroom, and I can hear the other boys playing superheroes (or some such) in the other bedroom.
One by one, I pick up the pieces of clothing from the basket and I sort them into their piles: kitchen linen, Rick’s clothes, Angus’ clothes, Pete’s clothes, Jamie’s clothes, and Bear’s clothes.
I am usually rather quick at this but tonight my arms feel heavy, and the task seems irrationally overwhelming. My hips are sore, my body is exhausted, and the humidity feels like it is closing in on me.
Bear bounces in, fresh from his shower. With much excitement, he tells me how he put lots of water on his hair. He is sparkling with energy and looks absolutely gorgeous. I manage a small smile, just as Rick walks in.
He immediately spots my weariness and calls for the boys to come in and help put their clothes away.
Just as everybody clambers in to retrieve their clothes, I spy another laundry basket in the corridor filled with clothes.
Immediately, I feel the tears welling up.
It is too much.
The everyday chores. The heat. The exhaustion. The sore hips. The sore pelvis. The contractions. The constant work that needs to be done.
It is all too much.
I struggle to my feet, wincing at the pain of simply getting off the floor.
I push past everybody and stumble down the corridor, just as the tears erupt.
I collapse onto the bed, sobbing, and curl myself up into a ball.
Moments later, Rick comes in, followed by Pete, then Bear.
Rick explains to them very gently why mummy is crying, and they take turns in giving me kisses.
Bear then attempts to arrange a group hug and a group kiss.
“How bout me and Petey and dada give mama kiss and hug at same time?”
Finally, my tears come to a halt, and I manage a tired smile.
Some time later, I drift off to sleep just as Rick starts to tell a bedtime story to the boys.
“Once, there were four brothers…”