It's early, much earlier than she usually arises. Work first, then a promise to keep. She tiptoes out of her office after the words are written, and steps into the first Gingerbread Boy's room. He's sitting in the armchair in the dark, wide awake already.
"It's time, honey."
She tiptoes down the hall to the other Gingerbread Boy's room. He's zonked. She hates to wake him, but she promised she would. She pats his arm, rubs his cheek, whispers into his small ear. "It's starting soon."
His eyelids flutter while his brother watches from beside the bed.
They follow her to the family room, where they wrap up in blankets in the chill spring air and watch the festivities over blueberry muffins and orange juice with pulp.
So many questions they have for her, about queens and castles and cathedrals, about priests and promises, as they sit there snuggled up by her side. She answers them as best as she can, plunging into her memories of her life in London so long ago.
Perhaps years later, the Gingerbread Boys will remember this morning. Not for the muffins or juice, or even the pomp and pageantry, but for a happy morning spent with their mother and a promise she kept.