A Note to my Youngest

A note to my youngest…

Please be innocent a little longer.

I watched you play at nursery this week. You didn’t see me standing at the window, forgetting I was picking you up early. You chased your friends around the garden, collecting ladybirds, tentatively placing them in cardboard box houses. You held hands, you laughed together, fell in the mud and never bothered brushing yourselves off. The Spring sunshine glistening through your hair. I felt a pang in my chest knowing this is your last Spring at nursery, Next year you will be at school, learning to read, learning to spell. Please be innocent a little longer.

We have every morning together, just you and me. Some days we walk Pup over the fields, splashing in the stream. Other days we stay in, you insist on playing babies, crawling around and making gaga noises. You don’t realise but you are still a baby in my eyes. I feed you imaginary bottles, and change imaginary nappies, but then I get to hold you in my arms as you drift into an imaginary sleep. That’s always my favourite part… three minutes of uninterrupted cuddles, I smell your head and you don’t tell me to stop, like you so often do these days. Please be innocent a little longer.

When it’s time for nursey we hold hands, you don’t try and escape me, not often anyway. You sing songs like ‘In and out the dusty bluebells’ we don’t remember the ending, but we have made up a good one of our own. Then we tell stories, or pretend some of the houses are nursery school, even though we know where the real one is. You have no fear of preschool, you hug the teachers and look forward to going every day, making drop offs easy, yet bitter sweet. Still, you run into my arms at pick up. Please be innocent a little longer.

It has just been your fourth birthday, though I cannot understand how that came around so fast. We ate cake, we laughed. Your present pile was full of unicorns and rainbows, colours to brighten up any dull day. It was so simple buying you presents, I just knew you would love them all. Please be innocent a little longer.

One day soon you will drop my hand as we walk side by side, and you may never ask for it again. You will never run across a busy playground and launch into my arms, rolling your eyes instead and turning your back. You will learn about the ins and out of the world, we will have lengthy discussions about war, famine, I will tell you about sex. Things I wish you never had to know. When you have a nightmare, you will roll over and go back to sleep, you will not call for me and hold on tight to my neck. I will never know what haunts your dreams. The time will come when you stay out at night and I toss and turn in my bed, wondering where you are, hoping you are safe.

Until that day, play in the sun, laugh and run. Don’t trouble yourself with the horrors on the news. Investigate rocks, pick up worms, dig up the flower beds looking for treasure. You will never be freer than you are now, embrace it, hold onto it. Be innocent just a little longer xxx