I glance down at my hand from my place in the sand
Where before I would see a tight circle, a band
of infant fingers demanding and
Commanding my own
To move with you so you needn’t do it alone
To keep you safe against stumbles and scrapes upon stones,
Scratches, bruises, contuses, shiners,
Knocks on your bones

And yet here you stand, you tower, you tumble so proud
Rising rump first, pushing up as my heart beats so loud

When did you learn to navigate
The swelling sands and the undulating
The wibbly-wobbly state with mirth
Those little toots we smooched at birth
Now cultivate the big boss steps pontificate
On tip toes you exaggerate
The cute moves none can imitate
Your baby weight
Was once a presence on my breast
Your pulse was fast pounding on my chest
I ferried you around at your behest
In cradled arms found closeness pressed
between my hips and the kitchen corners
the roses and the prickly thorners
the bath and the bassinet
the prayer mat
the shopping trolley and the playdate set

Kicking now excitedly to be placed down
Able arms push my ribs you plant your feet on the ground

I feel bemusement, a pride
roaring rioting inside
as I watch your small stolid stride
up steps and slip down the slide
It brushes up against
a sadness that I’m trying to hide
“Don’t go,” my fevered heart decried, “No,”
“Fly high” my braver love replied

And you do, you do fly
Pointing up at the sky
As the aeroplanes soar by and the kackos say hi
And the tales that you tell to the flowers you smell
At the ocean you pelt not afraid of the swell

So I’ll pause here and watch you
from my spot in the sand
Though I’m tempted to clutch you
I must steady my hand
But I’ll cheer you on relentlessly and one of these days
I’ll get a glance from my little girl far far away
and you will slowly turn round
with a smile that is large
and your head lowered down
for a meaningful charge
so I’ll crouch on the ground
anticipating your march
into my arms you’ll make yourself snug
the margins around my shoulders you’ll tug
you’ll steal the breath from my lungs
because in both of your tongues
you’ll have learned this word