Bedtimes with my children are precious. I savour each evening's descent from madness into cosseted, thumbsucking babyhood in the same way I savour the weight being took off my feet and curtains being closed on our day.
We have a binary agreement, Miche & I - Megan gets her mother's undivided attention one night whilst Dominic gets to be a bloke with his dad. The next night Dominic's sensitivity is nurtured whilst Megan gets to be with her father to practice 1st grade philosophy. So it goes night after night.
Mornings follow a similar routine. We need this regimentation you see, as our progeny wake at 5:30 on the dot, regardless of weather or season.
And I for one, need my sleep.
So tonight I have my daughter - Meg wants to talk about death. Which took me aback, I must say. It's not a topic we've broached in any depth with either of them yet.
"I'm not going to die until I'm eighty four" she said to me.
"Well Meg, that's a great age to die. How do you know?"
"Great Granny died when she was eighty four, didn't she?"
I nearly broke down in front of the poor girl as I never expected her to remember this. Her Great Grandma died when she was three; I held her hand as she passed away and wiped my tears off her thumb.
"You remember her?"
"Yep, she lived in a hotel." Meg told me.
I guess the nursing home would look like a hotel to a four year old girl. You see, Gran had dementia and lived out her last three years in care. Prior to this she'd been fiercely independent and a stalwart influence over our entire family.
I gave my tearful eulogy at her humanist funeral. Like the rest of us, she had no time for God and his ilk. (If you're interested, I posted my tribute to her in my first week of blogging.)
So I said to Meg, "there's nothing to be scared of in dying you know."
"I know Dad, you just go to sleep forever."
"So what happens after that then?" I asked.
"I don't know. Do you?"
"No, my sweet" I said, kissing her on the forehead, "Let's take our time in finding out, eh?"
"I love you", she mumbled, almost asleep.
"Me too, me too..."
And that was that.