The kids are home and tucked safely into their beds. Playtime for parents is officially over, but I’m glad to have everyone back in their proper places. The night time quiet is slowly settling around the house and I can feel my own breathing slowing to match the stillness.

In a few hours, I’ll climb the stairs to check on them before I go to bed myself. Checking on your sleeping children is one of the greatest gifts of parenthood. By the glow of the night light, you can see the babies they once were, the children they are now and sometimes you can even see a glimmer of the adults they will become. Their eyelashes rest on the curve of their cheeks and their lips twitch with silent dreams. They don’t need anything from you in the moment because you’ve already done everything. They are fed and warm. They are safe and the words of their bedtime stories and lullabies float through their dreams.

I give them peace, so they can sleep and in their sleep, they return the peace to me.

And then we all can sleep.