I couldn’t sleep all of a wink on the airplane or in the uber back to my house. Every time I am en route to my children after days away, a part of me longs endlessly for them, in the way that the excitement of Christmas Eve paralysed me with just the right amount of delight as a child. I just lay in the dark and let my mind race the happiest of thoughts. I opened the door to my house and and caught myself smiling. My dogs raced to kiss every morsel of my face like I was both their pack leader returning from the world’s most treacherous expedition and also the most delicious piece of filet mignon they had ever seen. I guess in a few ways I am those descriptions combined, so I let myself lap up their attention. Monty has had a haircut and I can see his eyes for the first time in weeks. He’s a rescue dog with ridiculous reactive issues that mean every dog who lives 5 km from ya knows he is the neighbourhood asshole. But he is so affectionate, and in a brief instance I see the old man from UP in the soft grumpy glisten of his eyes. He is so happy to see me. This little asshole is medicine to me and and the other little asshole is soul food. They con me into a midnight dog treat and I happily indulge because I like seeing them balance on two legs legs circus dogs who dance for my amusement. (Alright, alright – maybe I’m an asshole, too.) Distracted by a rumble in my tummy, I walk over to the pantry for almond butter and gluten free toast – which by the way would be my last meal if I had the choice – but tiptoe over & peek into the fridge. I chuckle. I can tell my mother is living here now because a) I am tiptoeing in my own house b) as if I’m sneaking in to my own house after a night out and I mustn’t wake mother c) because there is a tray of fresh spanakopita staring me down from the place where the boring shit like tubs of hummus hang out. I love hummus obviously, but the spanakopita knocks it out of the park with its donkey kong swagger. I remember the last time I tried to make spanakopita and how badly I fucked it up, which then proceeded to me crying because I was bleeding and craving the taste of smushed spinach, butter and feta. My mother has a lot to teach me. I take a second to enjoy the fact that I am finally redeeming that moment years later and turns out it is Christmas after all, but there is no Santa and no tamagotchi, but there absolutely is a silver fox who made me spanakopita and I am pretty bloody chuffed. It’s things like finding food my mother makes that reminds me of the very real fact that she is living in my house. I miss this feeling – the one I’ve been feeling ever since she got here a few weeks ago that I don’t want to get bored of ever. The one where the 3 levels of my house smell like 3 layers of cake. And pies. And Michelin star grub made from the world’s most impressive food wizard. Fuck turning water into wine, Joanne Arsenault is famous for making elaborate meals out of 3 ingredients. This is the same woman who recounts me of the ways she had to survive and feed her 3 kids with 25$ a week, crying her way into the supermarket and somehow always making it work. She blows me away that woman. I’m overcome with love for her and that resourceful resilience she passed on to me. And after demolishing my own chef worthy toast, I quietly (but not so quietly because I secretly want my babies to wake up and greet me like my asshole dogs) waltz up the stairs and into my room. It’s pitch dark and I can hear the distinct lullaby of my rolling breaths of both of my children. I could point out the song of their breath in a crowd of ten million. I’ve spent thousands of hours obsessing over the perfect details in their snoring and snuggles. I feel the urge to literally jump into the bed and scream, ‘I AM HERE! WAKE UP! LOVE ME! I MISS YOU! YOU ARE PERFECT DIVINE BABIES AND NEVER GROW UP EVER AGAIN!’ But I am sensible (sometimes) and bite my tongue. Instead I weasel into the 5 inches left for me to sleep right by Odin, in a king size bed hijacked by the same two little humans who hijacked my womb. Old habits die hard, I see. Jokes on you, kid. I lift the duvet and find his body which is neither small or gigantic but somewhere in between, and he is purring. He notices I am there and in a half sleep I can tell he questions whether he just dreamt me up or not. When he realises it is me, a little meow escapes his mouth that says, ‘mummmmmmyyyyy…’ and he wraps both his arms and interlaces every once of his digits into the hands and bosom he calls home. I whisper that I love him and miss him, and he smiles in his half sleep as he lets out the happiest and most satisfied sigh. The soles of his bare feet find the meatiest parts of my thigh and he grounds them there. They melt into me like dollops of cream on the tops of freshly bakes scones. The whole weight of him falls into me like the little spoon, and his bones find themselves perched on the bones of my throne. I feel like the Queen of fucking England. Like Mother Mary. Like the purest parts of Cersei Lannister. My babies taught me sovereignty. Is this how my mother felt? I wonder if she is proud of this love that was born from me but came from her. My children make me feel like royalty and I am so happy to be home.