Doing our best

Is that the best you can do?
Was that your best?
Have you done your best?
Maybe you could have wrapped up?

Maybe you could have wrapped them up and gone to the park?
What about a day at the zoo?
What about collecting some leaves?
What about nature?
What about a nature collage? What about pasta?

Here is a list of things
Here is a list of things you have failed at.
Getting out and about. Embracing nature. The Laundry.
Being active. Being more grateful. Just getting on with it.
Having things in hand. Not making a fuss. Threaded pasta. A career.

I would really recommend this book.
I would really recommend that you look at all of your things
one by one
and then throw them into the bin.
I would really recommend
having things in hand.

Have you ever thought about opening a restaurant?
Have you ever thought about running a café?
Have you ever thought about writing a book?
Have you ever thought about just getting on with it?

Sit down.
Light a candle.
Make a list
of things
that you are grateful for
like not making a fuss
and just getting on with it

If you would diet and never go off that diet you would be happier.
The key thing is to never stop dieting.
If you would only tidy as you go more then you would be a successful individual.
If you could think about each object and whether or not it still brings you joy and maybe throw the stuff away that doesn’t bring you joy then you would be perfect.
If you earnt more money then you would have more options and you would be happier.

Have you ever thought about owning a food stall?
Have you ever thought about selling cakes from home?
What about starting your own chutney business?
Have you thought about chutney?
Or jam?
Why didn’t you do more with your degree?
Why didn’t you make your baby
do more tummy time?

If you never looked at facebook then you would have a more complete life.
In the olden days no one had facebook and it was just better.
In the olden days we were more grateful and it was better.
In the olden days we did more weeding and were thinner and had stronger pelvic floor muscles.
You need to get back to a more natural life.

You need to get in touch with nature.
Have you thought about writing a list of all the things that you are grateful for?
Have you considered lighting a candle
and writing more lists?
and getting into a more positive frame of mind?
I know that some of my friends will copy and paste this. All those who do not copy and paste this will be silently murdered when they are least expecting it.

You need to find more time for yourself.
You need to carve out some more time for yourself.
You need to get up at 6am.
You need to get up at 5am.
If you got up at 5am you would have more time to yourself.

You need to do facial exercises.
You need to remember about pelvic floor exercises.
You need to exercise.
If you did more stuff then you would be more happy.
If you were more funny then you would have more real friends.

If you would stop making inappropriate and surreal jokes all the fucking time then you would have more friends. If you were more grateful and had stronger pelvic floor muscles and a tidier garden and home then you would be a better person and a mother. If you were dieting and lighting candles and hung up the washing sooner then you would be prettier and more appealing as a human being. If you could focus more on having a successful career and remember to buy dishwasher salt and get on the floor more often to play endless repetitive games then you would be so much happier.

If you would try so much harder.
If you would relax more.
If you were better.
If you were just a bit more
If you could do better
If you could be more loving, slow to anger, abounding in love and gratefulness and within a normal bmi range.

Batch cook on the weekend.
Brexit means Brexit.
Make healthy stews and curries out of butternut squashes and pulses.
Eat more pulses.
If you were
If you could just

eat more pulses
or try to
and write more lists
Look
stop being hysterical

everything will be alright
you are alright
write a list of all the reasons that you are alright
write a list of all the silver linings
write a list of healthy meals and stick to them

My dear friend

do you hear this crap?

Promise me something.

That you will always be so disgustingly angry and ungrateful
That you will never stop making a fuss.
That you will continue to fill your home with tacky shit
and old drawings I made for you decades ago

That you will rage

That you will eat chocolate and cry with me.

That you will always be my best.

img_6120-1

Another day at home

This morning I dropped my daughter off at school for the beginning of a new week and wrestled my toddler back home through the rain. After we had gotten through the door and taken our coats and shoes off, I put the kettle on while my son went to go and play with the knob on the washing machine for a bit.

I’d like to tell you that it was nice to just be at home or that it was lovely that it would just be me and my son on our own for the day.

The truth is, I just felt myself sinking.

Another day in this house.

It’s a nice house. We are very lucky to have it. It’s a three bed, 70s ex-council type place with laminate floors and double glazed windows. The kitchen and bathroom are fairly new, the heating works. I have nothing to complain about.

Also, I’m very lucky to be at home and to be able to be the main carer for my son. I work two days a week. The rest of the time I am at home or at the odd playdate or toddler group. This is how I wanted it. This is just how I always wanted to do motherhood.

So why does it feel sometimes, like after we have finished with the hustle and bustle of the school run and walked or driven back home, as if this house contains a silence that will deafen me.

The humming of the freezer.

The clicking over of the electricity meter.

The clack-clack-clacking of the zips hitting the inside of the washing machine as it turns over and over.

I stand at the fridge and drink some apple juice from the carton. My son appears at my knees. He reaches up and makes an ‘eeeeee’ noise. I pick him up. He points at the cupboard where the biscuits are.

‘Adgsh!’ he says and points at the cupboard.
‘Mummmah! Adgsh!’

Not a silence then but a wordlessness. There are no words spoken in this house but my own. I talk and talk all day to my son, hoping that he might pick up a few more of mine.

No one is making me stay at home. I could find a full time job if I wanted to, could put my son into childcare. I am no prisoner.

There is also a wealth of baby/toddler related activities available for a small fee and a short car ride. We could go trampolining, swimming, signing, shopping, gymnastics, play gym, playgroup, music time, bounce and rhyme, rhyme and rhythm, story time, etc etc.

Sometimes we do.

If I wanted to I could fill all our time up, but a day at home alone with my son should not be so hard. I should be able to do this. That’s what I keep telling myself anyway.

I have a coffee and we watch a few episodes of Bing together. The I turn the telly off because I feel guilty about it and start going through the toy boxes in the lounge, putting the duplo all in one box and cars in the other and broken stuff in a pile to be thrown away. He likes this and starts to play with the broken stuff.

We find all the bits to his duplo train and we put it all together.

There are now toys all over the lounge floor.

Every now and then he stops playing and gets onto my lap and we have a lovely cuddle. He rests his warm head on my chest just under my chin and says,

‘Mummmmah!’

He is having a very cuddly day and it’s so lovely.

Outside the window a thick fog has fallen. The view from the lounge becomes more and more whited out. After an hour or so of us playing, only the first few metres of grass in our front garden is visible and from the other side of the street I can only make out the faint outline of the houses and a lamppost.

We have lunch and we sit opposite each other at the table. I talk to him about things and he says ‘yeah’ and smiles and giggles at me when I pull faces at him. I smile back. He is adorable. He points at the cupboard for something,

‘Mummah! Mummah! Ugsh!’

‘What’s up honey? What are you after?’ I ask him.

‘Ugsh!’

‘Do you want some squash?’

‘Ahhhhhm? Doh!’ he replies, shaking his head.

‘No squash?’

‘DOH!’ He shouts quite emphatically.

‘Ok, ok, no squash! How about some water? Do you want some water in your cup?’

‘Ugsh! Mammah, urgsh! URGSH! UUURGSH!’

‘Shall I put some water in y-‘

‘DOHHH! DO! MUMMAH!’

‘Ok, so you do want squash?’

‘Errrrrrrr . . . .YAAAAA!’

‘Ok, I’ll do you a squash.’

I pour him a cup of squash. I take it to him. He shouts ‘DOH!’ again and then throws it onto the floor.

Let’s talk for a moment about a different scenario. The scenario is that I have a full time job. I go to my job everyday 9-5 and use a childminder to do school runs and to look after my toddler. I am at work and other people look after my kids. While I am at work my two-year-old does a lot more ‘activities’ and spends lots of time with other children being stimulated. In this scenario he probably has a more interesting day than he has at the moment with me at home.

He has a more interesting day. I have a more interesting day. The only thing is, we are not together.

Is it greedy of me to want both? To want to be with him but to also not feel so cut off from the world? To not feel so bored or so lonely?

Sometimes I feel that boredom and loneliness creeping up on me as the day goes on, just me and him in the house doing normal stuff; hanging up the washing, playing cars, watching ‘In the Night Garden.’ It’s like a kind of silence that gets louder, a kind of white noise, or a maybe a kind of cold which freezes at the corners of the building first before moving into the centre.

Whatever it is I can feel it pushing in, filling up the unoccupied space in the house on a day like this. Like the fog outside the window, its threatens to obscure all else.

Boredom and loneliness isn’t quite right though. Those aren’t quite the two words to describe it. My body is busy playing, cuddling, wiping, walking, tidying, scrubbing, chasing, tickling and my mind is constantly churning, constantly telling myself I should be doing a better job at being a mum; that I should be tidier, more energetic, more patient, more compassionate, better organised, more lively and that I am always falling short.

Can you be bored and also be in a kind of mental overdrive?

And loneliness isn’t quite right either. I am with my son. I do see other grown ups for the odd coffee. I connect with people. I go to a toddler group. I have friends and most of all, I love to be by myself, to be left to my own thoughts and to be able to do my own thing. It is my best luxury.

So what is this thing I feel myself sinking into on days like this?

It is . . .

a kind of unhappiness I suppose

and also a kind of struggle to accept myself as a mum and to believe that I am doing a good job, that I can do this, that I am doing it, that my children are happy, that I am doing ok.

I find it hard to be at home with a toddler on my own. I find that day long and tiring and frustrating and mentally unstimulating. But I also would rather be there with him than anywhere else in the world. I want this time with him. So this then leaves me to ask; was motherhood meant to be like this? Is it normal to feel so cut off on days at home? And without going to every single baby/toddler group going how the hell can we make it feel better?

Sometimes I wonder what you would see if you took a slice through all the houses on my street. How many others mums on their own would you see? How many carers? How many elderly people who have not spoken to anyone all day, all week? How many out of work or too sick to work? How many metres away am I from someone who feels they are a million miles away from anyone else?

And I guess I am writing this because I feel this is important, just to say all of this out loud or not quite out loud. Just to put it somewhere.

I started this blog to create a space where I could write what I was really thinking and feeling about motherhood, but if you want to write how you feel too you can do that here. You can comment on my facebook page or you can leave an anonymous comment on this blog post if you want to.

I could end this post by explaining that I’m actually ok and by telling you how much I love and enjoy spending time with my children, but you know what? I don’t feel I need to do that anymore.

Those are the kind of things that go without saying.

These are the things that often go unsaid.

At home with a toddler
Check out my ‘arty’ black and white filter skills

We carry on

A few days ago, after the school run, I went round to my mums house for a cup of coffee. I wanted to use her washing machine because ours had broken and we had also planned to go out shopping together because I needed to buy some warmer clothes for my toddler.

When I got there she told me about a dream she’d had the night before.

She dreamt that for some reason we all had to evacuate our homes and never come back. She dreamt that she was looking after the kids and was trying to get them to each put their things into rucksacks. She was stuffing her own clothes and bits and bobs into an old suitcase and telling them to pack their things and they wouldn’t listen to her and were just playing with their toys and generally just acting like little kids.

‘Just go and get all of your pants,’ she was saying to them. ‘Just go and get all of your pants and socks and put them into a bag.’

In her dream she knew that we had to leave and we would never be coming back. We were all being evacuated. She desperately shoved stuff into bags, knowing that our transport would come and go and that it would be our only chance to get away.

She told me about this a few days ago now. We were sitting in her quiet lounge drinking coffee. Outside the street was still apart from the odd car now and then, and on all the trees lining the road, the leaves were silently and ever so slowly turning brown. The sky was a dirty grey and the air had been getting colder and colder over the last few weeks. I thought about how I really needed to get some long sleeved t-shirts for my toddler and we started to discuss whether we should go to Marks and Spencers or to Sainsbury’s.

We talked about how it was worth paying a bit more for some bits that would wash well.

I thought about his chubby little arms in his short sleeves and how I didn’t want them to get cold.

‘The thing is,’ I said to my Mum

in the quiet lounge

while my son played with a train set in the corner

‘The thing is,’

and outside the trees flicked their branches around in the wind and more leaves blew off into the sky

‘Don’t you just feel like here we are, living our lives just like normal, but then there’s just this sea of people, there’s just thousands and thousands of people who are just suffering and dying

and

and

like when I am on facebook or something and I just see these pictures of toddlers

who are just white with dust

who are just lying in the dust

of another blown up building

Where will they go?

What will happen to them?

What will happen to all of these people who have had to leave everything?

All these people who are living in tents in the cold and the mud.’

And we talked about it for a minute and we both said how awful it must be and how good it is that finally, FINALLY at least the children are starting to come, even though it is not enough and it is far too late for some.

We talked about how we see these stories on the television and on social media and we want to do something. We talked about how we just carry on living our peaceful lives, but just a few miles away, thousands of people live in a chaos of tents and cold and hunger and how there are children there, children with nothing and with no one to look after them.

We talked for a moment about how we would like to do more and about what we could do.

After a few minutes we stopped talking about the refugee crisis and started talked about where we should go to buy long sleeved T-Shirts again. We drove up the M2 to the shopping centre. I tried some stuff on but it didn’t fit me very well and my mum tried a coat on but decided not to buy it. When I had picked out some bits for my son and two T-shirts for me we went to the café and had lunch. I had a BLT and my son had the chicken nuggets kids meal.

We just carried on with our lives.

Carried on with the school runs and dinner making and work and watching telly.

Carried on with reading stuff on twitter and Facebook.

Carried on watching gogglebox.

Me and my husband carried on with our late night conversations about what day we should order the food shopping and what washing machine we should buy.

On the weekend I took my five-year-old to a birthday party. It was a great party and an animal man had brought some owls and birds of prey to show the children. He did a little talk about the birds and got them to do some flying demonstrations. As part of the demonstrations he laid a sheet down on the floor and got all the kids to lie down and had an owl fly over them. They loved it and they all lay on the floor in a line giggling next to each other.
We just carry on with our lives.

I watch the news and I google stuff I don’t understand and try to read about how things have gotten like this in Syria and in other countries where people feel so unsafe that they have no other choice but to flee. I sign petitions and click that ‘I am interested’ in going to certain demos and events, but I am too scared to take my kids along with me and also I couldn’t afford to keep going into London.

Those are my excuses anyway.

Do you remember when we all marched against the Iraq war in 2003?

It was said to be the ‘largest protest event in human history.’ I had never been part of something so momentous and big before. It was five days before my twentieth birthday. My last five days as a teenager.

I wonder how my generation would feel about politics if those demonstrations had made any difference. I wonder where we would be now.


I wrote all of these thoughts down the other day and I wasn’t going to publish them, but then last night when my kids were in bed and I was going through my photos on my phone and I saw this one photo and I just didn’t know where it had come from and I thought,

Did I screenshot something from a news article by accident?

Why would I screenshot something so horrible?

It was a picture of twenty or so children. Children the same age as my oldest. They were all laid out in a line on a sheet. They were all face up.

I looked at it a few moments more and I realised what it was. I zoomed in a bit and saw that it was my daughter and her primary school friends on the sheet, not because they had been dragged out of a bombed building, but because they were waiting for an owl to fly over their faces.

I deleted it.

I did not want to look at a picture of my daughter and her classmates all laid out on a sheet together. All in a neat little line. All those little faces that I see on playdates and birthday parties and at the school gates each morning, running around with their little bookbags flying out behind them.

And after I deleted it I decided I would publish this, despite it being a jumble of fairly ignorant thoughts on the refugee crisis.

I hoped that if you felt like me, maybe horrified and also a bit helpless as you see this endless suffering unfold in Syria and in the people who have had to leave and walk and walk and walk and risk drowning in the sea in order to find safety. That if you, like me, are thinking this week about the jungle as it is closed down and about the thousands of people who will be moved on again, then maybe we could at least give some money together.

I’ve read around a bit and found that unicef are doing some amazing work to help in Syria and to help in refugee camps throughout Europe, especially with children and families . I’m going to ask if you’ll give five pounds with me. It seems so trivial in the face of such a crisis to just give money. It feels so removed somehow but the thing is, maybe a thousand other mums will read this tonight. Maybe more if you feel like sharing this post on your social media. Maybe two thousand mums will read this tonight and if we all gave five pounds together then that’s really something, ten thousand pounds is a lot of money.

Please join in.

You could donate £5 to unicef by texting UNICEF to 70099

Alternatively you could visit their website to a donate a monthly amount to the Syria appeal here

 

Looking out from Dover to Calais on the day the Jungle was demolished
Looking out from Dover to Calais on the day the Jungle was demolished

We need to talk about threadworms

Every now and then I have an experience in my ‘journey’ as a parent which I feel should be filed under a section of my brain titled ‘I didn’t really think about this kind of thing before I decided to have kids.’ One such recent moment would be when I noticed that there was a couple of little white pieces of cotton, kind of thrashing around in the contents of my toddler’s nappy.

That’s weird, I thought to myself.

Has he swallowed some cotton somehow?

And if he has, why are the pieces of cotton kind of, moving about?

WHY ARE THEY MOVING?

WHY ARE THERE ALIVE MOVING THINGS IN MY CHILD’S POO?

I . . . . I . . .

I think I have heard something about this somewhere before. Is this worms? Do kids get worms? Do grown-ups get worms? Do I have worms? Oh my fucking, fucking, shitting, fucking hell.

WORMS!!

ALIVE WORMS POTENTIALLY LIVING UP OUR BUMS.

I then began a kind of frantic google search about thread worms which was both informative and thoroughly disgusting. Yes, my son had worms, at least two of which I had just quadruple nappy bagged and binned and then taken out to the wheely bin. I also found out by my google search that I could get an over the counter treatment from the pharmacy.

Five minutes later I was at the counter of my nearest pharmacy.

‘Erm,’ I began, ‘I erm, unfortunately I errr, I need a worm treatment for my family. For the whole of my family, you know, just in case.’

The pharmacist looked even more bored than before I arrived at the counter, turned round and grabbed a couple of packets from the shelf behind her and plopped them down next to the till. She explained, in a way which made it sound like she had said the same words a gazillion times already that week who should take what treatment and when they should be repeated etc.

‘And is there any cream or anything?’ I asked and then whispered. ‘You know, for his bum?’

‘No,’ she said. ‘You just have to take the medicine and wait for them to die.’

‘Wait?! You mean, they don’t just all immediately die straight away?’

She kind of smirked a little bit. ‘No, I’m afraid it might take a day or two.’

I got back into the car with my various pills and potions and a general feeling of horror. I drove home and tried not to think about how there might be worms living inside my bum. As I drove through the streets I looked at all the people in all the other cars and wondered whether they might also contain people who had worms living up their bums.

When I got home I did some more googling in between texting various friends who we had seen for play dates around the time to sound the ‘WORMS!!’ claxon. My worms claxon was basically a horrified text containing lots of turd and caterpillar emojis (caterpillar was the closest emoji to a worm). I was devouring all internet worm related information at incredible speed whilst at the same time trying to not touch my son at all and washing my hands every ten to twenty seconds.

Quite soon I felt that I knew every possible thing there was to know about thread worms from the internet and I had also branched out a little bit to read about tapeworms and stumbled on a couple of truly horrifying stories about some other kinds of worms that live in people’s eyes and ears and stuff. Before I got totally sucked into a parasite information wormhole (see what I did there) involving stories about spiders laying eggs under your skin and snakes swimming up through your u-bend to live in your bathroom etc I managed to gather the following useful information;

Thread worms live inside your lower intestine.

When they reach maturity the female worms wriggle out of your bumhole to lay eggs at night.

YES THEY

WRIGGLE

OUT OF YOUR BUMHOLE

TO LAY EGGS AT NIGHT

I’m not sure how they know that it is night. I mean, it’s not like they carry microscopic watches around (ok round up girls, it’s bumhole egg laying time) and it’s not like they can see it go dark or anything and therefore know that it is night time. They probably sense a drop in temperature or something.

I dunno really.

I’ll google it later.

Their eggs give kids an itchy bum which they then scratch in their sleep and then the eggs spread about onto their hands, under fingernails, on bedding etc (they are too small for the naked eye to see).

Thread worms lay literally thousands of microscopic eggs at a time which can live outside the body on surfaces, in dust, on clothing, anywhere really, for up to six weeks.

Thread worm medication prevents the worms from being able to absorb glucose so it basically causes them to starve to death. It does not kill of any unhatched eggs which have been ingested so you have to take another dose two weeks later to deal with any hatchlings.

The cycle begins when a person ingests an egg by touching a contaminated surface and then touching food or putting their fingers in their mouths.

At any given time it is estimated that 40% of primary school aged children have threadworms.

FOURTY PERCENT!!!

Well that’s what it said on the packet for the medication anyway.

Apparently you get rid of thread worms by getting everyone in your household to take the medicine on the same day (so that you don’t reinfect each other) and then again two weeks later and then there’s also this whole thing about following a very strict hygiene routine for several weeks.

Now this is when worms goes from being a horrifying shock to just being really fucking boring.

I’m not a fan of endless laundry or maintaining an immaculate house but oh my goodness, under threat of worms coming out of my bum at night to have a little wormy egg laying party on my anus, it turns out I can actually maintain an absolutely spotless house pretty well.
After getting everyone to take the medicine my husband and I spent that evening hoovering, mopping, dusting, bleaching, scrubbing, and loading and unloading the washing machine and tumble dryer. We washed everything, I mean all of the kids’ toys, cuddly and plastic, every piece of furniture, every block of duplo, every door knob and surface around the house, everything.

There was this moment when I was lathering up our leather pouffe with hot soapy water and he was cramming the washing machine full of cuddly toys and I looked at him and I thought, I just don’t know who we are anymore.

Our house became hotel-like. It became like the kind of hotel we could probably not afford to go to actually; immaculate surfaces, clean towels every morning, fresh bed sheets and pillow cases every day.

Although, on the other hand, it would be a pretty weird hotel if someone shouted at you to wash your hands (and use the nailbrush) before you ate any kind of snack or meal and you also had to go to bed wearing both pants and pyjama bottoms and then lie awake wondering what might happen to your bum hole during the night.

That’s not somewhere that anyone would like to stay.

Changing the sheets and towels for clean ones everyday (alright, alright, every other day) was just so eye glazingly boring. I think it was actually so boring that it was worse than the horror of finding the worms in the first place. It’s the endless washing that would put me off having them again more than anything else.

I became rather obsessed with hand washing. I mean, I know we are all supposed to get our kids to wash their hands before they eat but when you really think about it, do you actually make your kids wash their hands before every single meal, snack and drink? I know that I don’t. Well, I didn’t anyway before worm gate. I do now.

In the end, worms were only ever spotted in the toddler’s nappy and no one else actually showed any signs or symptoms of having worms or catching them at a later date from the toddler. However, I had such a strong reaction to the deworming medication that it’s amazing even I was alive at the end of the two days and nights which followed, never mind any parasites. I was very ill and spent a lot of time on the toilet, feebly shouting things out to the kids like,

‘Be kind to each other.’

Whenever I heard them squabbling over a toy pram or whatever from downstairs.

It was pretty grim.

Right now we are worm free. However, I think I’m just going to get my kids to take the medicine every few months, just as a precaution. They had no bad reaction to it at all and didn’t even really mind the taste of it that much. I mean, people do exactly the same thing with their animals but with our kids we wait for them to become infested before actually deworming them.

So there you go, that’s everything I know about threadworms so far.

Please note that all of the information in this blogpost about thread worms is just stuff I read on the internet and I am not in any way any kind of medical person.

I’ll leave you with this beautiful illustration I created on the notes app on my iphone.

You’re so welcome.

Have a relaxing evening.

threadworms

When I am old

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
‘Listen.’
and you looked at me and waited

‘Oh yes,’ I said.

‘The sea.’

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
your absolute
number 1 fan.

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