You leave for work long before the babies wake up. You have to leave early so you can finish before rush hour, get back and be about for the babies bed time. You usually sit at your desk in work and get on with emails, telephone calls and tasks. You push thoughts of the babies far away from your mind. You know if you think about them - their cute little smiles, their beautiful red hair - you will feel that dark tinge of guilt striking you. And then you'd feel bad. So you block it out, carry on and drive to work.
But not this morning. This morning you pressed the snooze button and thought to yourself how lovely it would be to get the babies dressed with your husband. You could leave for work a little bit later, it would be OK, just stay a bit later.
You get dressed and pour golden breakfast cereal into pink plastic bowls, sitting the three girls at the table. You comb you eldest daughter's hair and plait it, taking care to catch the straggles. You help your toddler get into the booster seat and hand her her spoon, carefully brushing her thick red hair out of her eyes with your fingers. You sit with the baby, play 'wind the bobbin up' and cuddle.
After dressing your toddler, kisses and cuddles you set off to work in the car at 7.30am.
You hit the traffic. Maybe you should have set off sooner? Was it a mistake to set off so late?
Wall of traffic.
Windscreen wipers scrape the damp window, groaning as cars park bumper to bumper. Red break lights hit the rivulets of rain on the window and glare in your face like a thousand red warnings.
You arrive in work. Coffee. Emails. I wonder if the kids got to nursery OK? Nursery day today. Nan's twice a week. More emails. You just can't shake the babies out of your hair today. Did she pick up her PE kit? Team meeting. Laughing. But not really. Wonder if they are alright?
You leave later from work to make up the time. Turn the key in the ignition, cold hands. Look at the clock.
Wall of traffic.
You park the car in the drive at 6.55pm. Turn the key in the door, warm hands.
Babies. Cuddles. Kisses.