Ringwood East. July 2017.

It’s 5pm and I am tired.

I am tired of answering questions about Mario Kart, and Russia, and Lego. I am tired of arguing the merits of hand-washing, and vegetables, and sleep. I am tired of coaxing and pleading and fetching and carrying and replacing and wiping and picking up and putting away.

I am just tired.

You, my moon, have forgotten how to sleep without tears and temper, and your pull on the tides of my emotions is mighty. And you, my sun, are a burning ball of noise, humming and buzzing and sizzling and roaring, with constant explosions of ideas and questions that I can’t keep up with.

Sometimes you take turns exhausting me, and others, like this night, you are both in my sky at once. I need space and I need quiet and I desperately need sleep, but I’m on my own for now so I know I will be going without.

I close my eyes and recite all the reasons that I should be cherishing each moment, and how this too shall pass, and that yes, the days are long but the years are short. These words have been stitched into my fragile mother-skin by well-meaning aunties, grandmothers and strangers, and I appreciate there is truth to them from the comfort of the other side. Sometimes – often – though, here and now, they are just empty words, and they provide little comfort when one of you is crying, the other is whining; and I too want to cry, or whine, or both, rather than finish this dinner that neither of you will eat.

Instead, I pull the strings a little tighter, and keep the fraying patchwork of my emotions together. I remind myself (with bewildered disbelief, still, after six years of mothering) that I am the parent. I am the adult. I am the only one who can change the tune that is playing in our kitchen this evening.

Quite literally.

Sometimes salvation can be found in the unlikeliest of songs. I find the one I want in the playlist, the one you call your dancing song, and turn it up loud. I push my lips into a smile and I pull you, littlest one, into my arms and spin you around. You giggle and shriek for “More! More spins!” Your older brother is riding his own wave, arms spread and eyes closed; all delicate leaps and inelegant stomps as he sings along. He joins us and we swirl and whirl and shout it at the ceiling together:

And we danced all night, to the best song ever; we knew every line, now I can’t remember how it goes, but I know that I won’t forget her; ‘cos we danced all night to the best song ever!

In this moment, out of breath and out of tune, my heart grows full. I have the sun and the moon in my hands and all else is forgotten.

It may not actually be the Best Song Ever, but for tonight, it will do.