25 April 2016

Half of the way

Yesterday, as we trudged up Vicarage Road to St Peter's, it struck me that Naomi will be nine soon. Almost ten, almost eleven, almost eighteen. She's moody now, like me, annoying her mother in the same way I annoy her mother. She doesn't want to go to church, but does because she has to. She sits with her legs crossed, thinking. I put my arm around her because I want her to be close to me.

Mia needed to be held yesterday, just while her mother cleaned her boot. I held her and it was awkward because she is too big to be held now. She will be five.

On our hike, which Naomi didn't want to be on until she did, we talked about Justin Beiber song lyrics. We talked about teenage things, about love and who they liked. I saw a man struggling with a pram and thought that I would never do that again. I had already done my time.

Now they cook for themselves, and make pancakes. Naomi says that I have too much white hair. Yes, I say, let's make a pact and never grow up, you and me. Let everyone else grow up and we'll stay young and happy and carefree. They laugh and ride off on bicycles. Mia too, now: go on, I say, and then immediately, please stay, I'm sorry, don't go.