When I reach my arm behind me into the backseat of the car and hold your little calf in the palm of my hand.
When your head is just under my chin and you are sleeping, drooling a little onto my neck.
When I stroke the back of your arm with my fingertip through the cot bars, until you go to sleep.
When I am reading my book and peppa pig is on and you are brumming your cars up and down my shins, across my shoulders, down my arms.
When I plait your hair and you are in your school uniform and we are running late.
When you are crying and I wrap you up in my lap, like you are still a baby.
When I held you still and tight against my body for your injections.
When you laugh.
When I shout.
When I brush your teeth.
When I pick you up from school and we go home for a drink and a snack and some telly.
When you were so new in your little light box and I wasn’t supposed to pick you up and you cried and cried and I put my finger in for you to hold onto.
When I didn’t know how to feed you.
When I fed and walked and rocked you for hours.
When day and night was just day, day, day, day and the longest of days.
When I cried on the bench outside the supermarket.
When you slept on my pillow, sideways with your smooth heels pressing onto your father’s neck.
When you threw your shoe at my head because you didn’t want to have a wash.
When you were so angry that you wouldn’t sit with me in the park.
When you were sick.
When I held a cold damp flannel onto your hot little head and tried to mix your antibiotics with anything I could think of so you would take them.
When you were really sick and your feet didn’t even reach half way down the end of the hospital bed.
When we went to the cinema and ate popcorn in the dark.
When I saw you talking into the microphone at the class assembly
and then watched it back fifty more times on my phone that week.
When you read to me
When we danced together
in the kitchen after dinner
to the My Little Pony music
on my phone.
Or what about that grey day
when we were running in and out of the sea?
What about when we got home and
you sat on the step in the garden
and one by one
you took each of the shells
that you had chosen from the wet sand
from out of your yellow bucket
and put them in a line,
picked out the biggest one
and held it up to my ear
‘Listen,’ you said
and you looked at me and waited
‘Oh yes,’ I said.
When I am old will I remember these things?
And if my mind does start to go
what about the rest of me?
The hands that held yours, the arms that carried you,
the shoulders and the hips that you clung to,
the lap that you slept on, the shins you scrambled up,
the thumb that I used to wipe the toothpaste stain from off your lip at the school gate,
the back that you stretched out on as we lay on the sofa and watched tv,
the chin and the neck that your head fit so perfectly into while you napped.
Will these parts of me remember somehow?
Will my fingertips recall
each of the soft little hairs that I stroked away from your face
as you slept?
Even seashells remember
still continue their roar
of applause for the ocean
long after they have left.
When I am old
when my mind has gone
please know that I am still cheering
that even with the creak of my bones
and the shuffle of my feet
that even with the slowness of my breath as I fall asleep.
I am still declaring myself
over and over
number 1 fan.