Tuesday, 22 April 2014

To My Four-year-old, With Love

How can you possibly be four
When just four minutes ago,
You fit perfectly into the crook of my arm, curled up like a seashell, sleeping with concentration,
Or crying those plaintive infant tears as I rocked you endlessly in the rocking chair,
Or clinging to my chest like a little monkey, bright-eyed and curious about the world around you?

How can you be four
When just four seconds ago, 
I watched you take your first wobbly steps—and then take off like lightning,
Watched your world expand as you learned something new every day
And began to understand its joys and sorrows?

How can it be
That you are no longer a baby or a toddler,
But a little (big) girl whose lean legs and arms dangle when I pick you up,
Who speaks in full sentences and questions everything, 
Who can ride a bike, count to 100 and spell her name,
Who tells knock-knock jokes (albeit bad ones)
And knows every line from Frozen by heart?

You are growing up. 

And it worries me, because sometimes—most often when you're sulking or mad—I look at your sweet, sullen face, and I catch a glimpse of the lovely young woman that you will become. And while I have every confidence in your brains and your beauty, I'm not at all ready for that.

So do me a favour: don't grow up. Stay my little girl; let me read to you and sing to you.
Keep wanting me—to be with me—every day.

Give me four more seconds to cuddle you and hold you close. 
Let me be your moon and your stars for just four minutes longer.

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