A Snapshot.

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You are reading books in a tent in the lounge. You both still have bottles in the afternoon.

Mabel has just come through to the kitchen, where I am sitting at the table writing. She mimed ‘I love you’. Her eyes. Her heart. Her mama. ‘Don’t forget to look after yourself’, she said to me, over her shoulder, as she left the room.

The Kale we sowed from seed has sprouted on the windowsill. 4 white plastic containers we filled with dirt, and watered and left to sleep in the sun.

You made your own sandwiches for lunch, tearing the crusts off and feeding them to the dog, as we sat here, all together.

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mama

A love letter to my daughter, when she tripped and fell, and to my son, who cried wolf because of it.

You were running around your room, which we had spent all day tidying. We’d picked up and packed away. We’d reorganised your furniture. You told me what should go where and we moved it together; ‘1, 2, 3 heave!’ your contribution.

You tripped and fell, after spinning in circles on the floor now free for spinning circles. Your pyjama pants half way up your legs, got under foot and down you went with them. Your upper lip, much more made for kisses, took the impact on the frame of your bed.

I knew instantly how badly you had hurt yourself, because of your cry. A blush of purple bruise will tell us tomorrow. Your held your little hand to your face. That feeling of disbelief that something could be so painful; that you were still intact.

I sat cross-legged, where moments before you had been turning, your arms in the air. And I scooped you up and held you to me, your body still fitting in my lap, though these days you spill over the sides. And I said what I say. Sshhhhh. Sshhhhh. You’re okay. I’m here.

I told you I could hear in your voice how much you were hurting.

Your brother, after you had fallen asleep; once you’d calmed down, and I’d turned off the light and sung all our songs; bumped his head on the rail of your bunk beds, and got upset. And I said what I say. Sshhhhh. Sshhhhh. You’re okay. I’m here with you.

And I told him I could hear in his voice that he wasn’t too hurt.

So this is to say, to both of you; as all these letters are, even if they’re are addressed to the other; I have heard all your cries. I have been here. I am here. I am right here with you. And I am listening.

I am always here to listen. No matter what you are feeling; how big or how small. When you can only say one thing, because you mean something else, but the something else won’t come out how, or though, you mean it. Or you haven’t found the words quite yet. Or when, really, all you are looking to hear is that you matter, too, and just as much, and as much as ever. Or because sometimes you can’t believe how painful it is; or that you are still intact.

I will be there. I will be right there with you. I will hear in your voice how much you are hurting, and I will drop everything.

Except you.

I love you,
Mama.

A love letter to the father of my children on his birthday.

One of my most vivid memories of you was when I told you I was pregnant with our son.
‘So, you wanna have a baby with me?’ ‘…When?’ ‘Oh, about 9 months?’
We were laying in bed, some otherwise toneless morning, in a tumbledown dive on the right side of town. We were so young. We’d yet to meet one another’s families. We weren’t sure where we were heading in our lives, but we sure hoped it was together.

A year to the day we met, Theo was born. And 15 months later, came Mabel.
We lived together and got a puppy. You went back to school. I stayed home with the baby. You began your career. I stayed home with the babies.
We mended what fell apart, as best we could. As best we knew how to. Though it proved not enough to keep things together.
We were 23 when I first saw you across a crowded room.
And you are 29 now, as I write this from a room crowded with life of a different kind.

Our children are outside right now. You wouldn’t believe it, but they’re talking about Bob Dylan. ‘Do you like Bob Dylan?’ ‘Yeah! Do you like Bob Dylan?’ ‘Yeah!’. We made some beautiful music together, you and I. It’s dancing all over us. It’s holding the tune while we find a new rhythm. And we are. We will.

Happy birthday. May the radio play all your songs.

There’s always a space on my dance card for you.

With love,
Alice.