She closed the door behind her and for a brief moment stood still. Then slowly, as if she didn’t want to disturb a sleeping person, she made her way across the large living room towards the window. She sat down on the window seat and before picking up her book, she looked out onto the garden. The trees were dotted with white sprouts already even though winter was still in full swing. She smiled to herself and opened her book.
It was early morning and it would be hours before Mark came back from work. This was her favourite part of the day. She enjoyed her little routine immensely – getting up a little after Mark (she adored staying in bed a little longer and switching to his side for it always seemed ever so slightly cosier to her) and putting the kettle on while Mark made breakfast. It was she who made coffee for both and did it with love and care. Then Mark would get dressed and she would step outside to breathe in the fresh morning air. After they kissed goodbye she would indulge in her book for an hour or so. “This is all I want. Until I’m gone,” she’d think to herself almost every day. Time flew by, as it tends to do, and it was soon time to wake up the kids.
She placed the bookmark in her book and left it on the cushion on the window seat. Then she stood up and stretched her youthful body, lifting her toned arms high above her head. Her face was often serious but her soul was smiling with content. She took off her dressing gown and slipped into comfortable, loose-fitting grey trousers and a mustardy jumper. She tied her long hair back into a ponytail and made the bed.
Upstairs, three children were still fast asleep. She opened their bedroom door and for a couple of moments listened to their rhythmic breathing. Without saying a word, she opened the window and cool, fresh air burst inside.
It was Paul who first mumbled: “Good morning, Mum.” Then followed Colleen with her faint, soft and sleepy one. Only Jane didn’t so much as move. She was the sleepy head of the family. Amy sat down beside her daughter and gently caressed her head of thick wavy hair. “Time to wake up, darling.”
“Are we really going today, Mum?” asked Paul, who was already up and making his bed. Amy smiled at him, revealing a beautiful set of white teeth. Paul smiled back, flashing an identical set of his own. “Can I wear my new wellies, please?” asked Colleen. “Are you sure you’ll be able to climb in those, dear?” “What if I just put them in the car for later then? Please, Mum, it might rain later!” Colleen insisted. “Very well. We’ll do that then! C’mon, wake your sister up and come down for breakfast. Quick!” said Amy and swiftly rose to her feet, clapping her hands and winking at Paul. He winked back, trying to keep a straight face and look all mysterious, but he was hopeless at hiding his own excitement. Luckily, the girls were much too sleepy to notice.
Downstairs, in the kitchen, Amy was setting the table in a quick, well-rehearsed manner, almost tossing the plates onto the table like one would a frisbee. The kids all liked to make their own bread spreads – Paul was a big fan of plain strawberry jam and butter on a piece of toasted bread, Jane loved her Nutella – first a spoonful straight from the jar, then on bread, while Colleen enjoyed her boiled egg with a slice of bread with some butter and honey, which she would eat like a proper lady – silently and with her elbows close to her torso. One thing all three of them always had with their breakfast was a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.
Amy, having had her own breakfast while the kids were getting dressed, was preparing a picnic basket. She packed salmon and cucumber sandwiches, a large piece of carrot cake, some apples and bananas and a large bottle of water. Then she disappeared into the garden and came back carrying a bunch of paints and brushes and some paper. She put it all in an old wooden briefcase and finally sat down to join her children.
“Why are you all mysterious, Paul?” asked Jane, now that she looked at him for the first time since she got up.”Paul glanced at his mother over his glass and met with Amy’s supportive eyes and smiling face. He decided to speak: “Because you’re all in for a nice surprise!” Now it was the girls’ turn to exchange glances. “We already know about it. We’re going hiking in the woods. Mum told us,” said Jane. “Aren’t we, Mum… ?” Paul quickly jumped in with “Yes, of course. Silly me.”
“That was close,” he thought to himself and continued sipping his juice with relief.
It’s your turn now!
Where are the children going?
Why did Amy pack paints and brushes? and
Why is Paul so excited about this trip?
Take these characters wherever your imagination takes you!
Paint your own picture.
Continue the story by writing it down or recording yourself telling it!