There are rules (we are in Germany!) about bedtime in our home. Finje knows this is one area where I remain inflexible and by 7.30pm all being well, the only sounds to be heard are the ticking of the clock and the snoring of the child.
Last night, despite a good start, our system malfunctioned. As Finje snuggled down, I kissed her nose, wished her sweet dreams and left the room. Settling down to my evening news catch up, I was startled to hear wailing. So unaccustomed am I to this, my first thought was that the cat was trapped behind the washing machine again. As it became apparent that Finje was the source, I shot upstairs thinking she must be sick.
Sitting up, clutching Penguin, tears were streaming down her little puffy face.
What on earth?
For quite some time I remained none the wiser as to the reason for the leakage. Whatever it was, it must be serious, the poor child couldn't splutter a single comprehensible word out through the hiccups and snot.
It transpired that my five-year-old daughter does not want to leave home. "Not ever". Because she loves mama and papa and doesn't want to live without us. As I was processing this information, my husband has sauntered into the fray. "Vat ist ze Problem?"
I stood back to observe his handling of the situation. He lovingly reassured his daughter that she never had to leave if she didn't want to, pointedly ignoring my look of horror and throat slitting signs. What was he saying, never?
"But if I do leave home, can I take Ripley (cat) with me?"
My darling husband, then threw the grenade......
"Oh Schatz, no need to worry, Ripley will probably be dead by the time you leave home!"
.....patted her head and returned to his office!
The dried up salty tears were immediately flooded by a fresh batch. Seemingly, thoughts of a feline-free life were more unbearable than those of a parent-free one.
Pushing thoughts of hobbling my husband to the back of my mind, I eventually managed to send Finje off into the Land of Nod.
Smiling to myself as I made a fresh cuppa, I wondered how soon we would be dealing with a teenager who can't wait to fly the nest. Would we also shed a tear?
And would it be one of relief or sadness?