Today you are four and you just told me the following things:
That you love me as many houses we have lived in (that’s such a lot isn’t it mummy?) and as big as the waves and as dark as the night when you are sleeping and how big the moon is and how hot the sun is.
I wonder whether you will be a poet or a songwriter. Although you resolutely refuse to learn your letters. BORING you say. But if you can’t write we say then how will you be able to read signs that tell you where buried treasure lies? Princesses read. It’s part of the job description we tell you. No. Not interested you insist.
But Banana begins with B.
We don’t really care. We know you’ll do just fine.
I kiss you and tell you how much we love you and how glad I am that you’re my baby – that you chose me to be your mummy. You look confused at that. I ask you if you’ll always be my baby, even when you are forty or eighty or a hundred. You tell me you’ll love me even when you are a billion and a hundred. And will you have stopped growing by then? Yes, I say, you’ll stop growing when you are about eighteen. And you will be taller than me and undoubtedly beautiful.
And you know, I tell you, four years ago I was lying in bed with you and cuddling you and the doctor’s first words were ‘look at those eyelashes.’ Why? you ask. Because they are long I say.
I just can’t sleep mummy. I want back strokes. Ok, I say because I do this every night. Lula bean, lula bean, I start to sing. You’re my mummy forever you finish. This to the tune of Adelweiss.
Please mummy I just need to not sleep and look at all my birthday presents. You stroke back my hair and it feels like you’re not 4. You’re much older. And you say ‘I’m sorry I was naughty today mummy. Thank you for all my birthday presents.’ And I say ‘that’s ok my darling, you’re good 99% of the time. Everyone’s a little bit naughty.’
And you kiss me and ask ‘what’s a percent?’ and I breathe in deeply and say ‘go to sleep now.’
And now you are four and a big girl and I will hold you to your promise that now you brush your own teeth and walk everywhere. No more carries. But secretly I’m hoping you break that last one a few times more.
Happy Birthday pop pop.