Friday, 15 April 2011

The last kiss goodnight

Imagine the scene:

You are staying at your parents'.  The children were in bed hours ago and are sound asleep, probably with arms flung above heads and covers wrunkled round feet. You've had a pleasant meal, maybe a glass of wine, definitely a splendid pudding, and you're off to bed.  You say goodnight and head upstairs with your best beloved.

You creep into the children's rooms, tucking them in and kissing each of them, relishing that sleepy baby breathing. You clean your teeth, wash your face, climb into bed and do whatever it is the pair of you do next (in my case, whinge about being uncomfortable, read a couple of pages of a book and warm my feet on the back of his legs (he loves that, by the way)), before turning the light off and settling down to sleep.

The door creaks open, light spills in from the hallway. In creeps your mum. She leans over the bed and gives you a gentle kiss on the forehead, brushing your hair out of your eyes.  "Night, night, darling. I love you. I'll see you in the morning".

Or not.

Because funnily enough neither of my parents comes in to give me a goodnight kiss any more. I'd find it more than a little odd if they did.

But when did they stop?  Because the goodnight kiss, the sleepy baby, the hunt for the lost Bunny in the darkened room, the tucking in of the tiny hands are all an essential part of my bedtime routine.  I would be significantly more likely to go to bed without cleaning my teeth than I would without kissing my children. 

But mine are (nearly) 4 and 2. So I can do that.  They go to bed before me. They are asleep. They expect me to creep in, to tuck, to stroke, to kiss.  And I know that I won't when they are 24 and 22.  But what about when they are 14 and 12?  Will they then be too cool? Too awake?  Too grumpy?

When does it stop?  When is the last kiss goodnight? How long have I got? Will I recognise it when it comes?  Because I'm going to miss it when it's gone and I want to savour it until it is.


  1. Aww I have never been able to go and give the little one a last kiss because she sleeps too lightly and I daren't risk waking her up!

  2. Well I can tell you that at 15, even though our son often goes to bed after us - we are sitting in bed reading and he's 'saying goodnight to his friends on facebook' - when he eventually gets in bed he shouts, "Are you coming through?". I throw back the covers, grab a dressing gown and scoot down the corridor. He won't let me kiss him as such but I stroke his hair, cuddle his shoulders a bit and we have a little chat before I turn out the light.
    Morning comes and he's a teenager again.

  3. Hmm, that "whilst they are asleep goodnight kiss"? Not sure. Until they can notice and find it creepy...

    But a kiss before bed? I think I kissed my parents goodnight until I left home... And even now if I'm staying with them I'll kiss them goodnight before I go to bed. They still, in their 70s, stay up later than anyone else - it's always been their policy!

  4. I think it lasts for a while. It must stop when we get married. 'Cause that would be creepy--as your hypo illustrated nicely.

  5. I still pop my head round the door and say goodnight to my 17 year old but, more often than not, he's still awake. I still check my 11 year old's breathing.

    I always kissed my parents goodnight until I left home but I think that was more a "girl" thing. My boys, whilst affectionate, refrain from kissing me now. My daughter (almost 20) still kisses me goodbye when she visits.

  6. My daughter now 14 months not only gets goodnight kisses from us but has learned to kiss back and does so in the day without abandon! I'm sure that will end far before the goodnight kiss does but while she is doing it I'm certainly savoring it.

  7. My oldest is nearly 14, and he comes and gives me a kiss before he goes to bed. It's nearly always preceded by "what are you watching? can I watch too?" (to which the answer is always no... I still need my no-kids evening time, however short it is).

  8. I think it stops when they start going to bed later than you!

  9. Moiderer - Oh!! it's one of the highlights of my day! I couldn't miss it (in fact I'm in bed already - knackered after L's party today) but I'm still going to creep in and kiss them (although leaning over the cots is getting hard with a bump in the way) before I actually fall asleep!

    Trish and Iota - you give me hope! Thank you (and if my kids aren't like yours in their teens can we swap?!)

    Moo's Mum and Nickie - I too still kiss my parents goodnight every now and then, but there's something about the perfection of a sleeping child, when you sneak a kiss without waking them that is just magical. And that you definitely can't do when they're 20!!!

    AH - and hopefully before you get married, because otherwise I suspect marriage would never happen!! (though can you imagine a more effective way to scare off an unsuitable boyfriend - may have to remember that technique in the years to come!)

    Tanya - Oh I love the "proper" kisses! S does a full on pouty mouth, whereas A has gone for more the Glasgow style...

    Anonymous - you may well be right!


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