Little you, you’ve run out of the house, your feet quick, quicker than mine, you feel free after being inside all morning, your brother chases you, he is upset, you arrived first; the sun has eaten the trampoline’s colours, the bright green has turned sad, sour, broken, but you still see it bright, you take of your pink bright shoes, he takes of his bright blue tennis shoes and both of you keep your socks, unwillingly, to make me happy, to stop my nagging: yes, the little battles you let me win are important.
Little you jumping, up, down, you land on your knees, you stand up, you ask me to count to 10; your brother pretends to fall on his knees and hurt his wrists, asks me to start counting again, I do, and you do the same, I tell you uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco and both of you snap and say ‘no, mummy in English today,’ I start again one, two, three.
Little you, my love, you smile and scream and that squeal and your brother, he laughs and pretends to steal your turn, until he does and you say it’s okay and he does it again and again, until you have had enough and you tell him ‘go away’, and he cries, and I get the red, blue, yellow and green balls and put them in there with you and you all jump and you all move and the colours follow you, little ones, like a rainbow, like magic, like all the things you are learning, like the memories, hopefully colourful ones, and how I wish to to give you colours, shiny, metallic, sparkling, colours for you, my gift to you, I hope, I wish, I try, but I know sometimes I fail – no one taught me to be a mother.
Little you, I’m scared, what if tomorrow you can’t jump there, what if tomorrow, we are locked inside, all day, what if you realised then that the trampoline is old and rusty, what if the neighbours complain and you stop squealing, the squeal … oh I if you only knew how it keeps me bright and alive.
Little you, you sleep now, in your bedroom, a lamp shaped like a pink bunny keeps you safe, and your brother sleeps, no lights on, he has outgrown his Cookie Monster night lamp, and it was sad when he said, ‘you can keep it in your bedroom,’ and I have it there, just in case, because I like it and it makes me smile and it reminds me that you grow every day, perhaps one day he’ll need it again but not today.
Little you, you sat on the bed waiting for me to say good night and your brother was sitting on the floor, and both of you smelt of kids toothpaste and soap and arrowroot biscuits and you screamed and pretended to be cheeky and your brother looked at us and told us he liked the calm, and I asked why and he said you are not telling me ‘do this, do that, do this, do that,’ and I felt like a failure and I wanted to cry and I looked at your father and he looked at me.
Little you, you were jumping when you saw the garbage truck stop outside our home and the man you have seen before said hello and you yelled hello and everything was normal for a while and you had a great day because he tooted the horn, just for you, and both of you squealed and how I want to put that sound in a bottle, the scent of happiness and grass and long hours at home while the world spins and tangles and untangles and I’m a silent witness at home with you reading and cooking and wishing and thinking and playing and working and pretending and laughing and failing at craft but I promise I try so very hard.
Little you, yes I promise I’ll take you to the zoo and the beach when the naughty virus stops travelling and your brother will come too and he will have that ice-cream with chocolate cover he so desperately wants to try again and I’ll hold your hands and you’ll forget about the old trampoline and maybe you will realise it is old and you won’t ask for the red, green, blue and yellow balls and you won’t squeal as often, and one day I’ll reminisce these days and think about the trampoline and your bright tiny shoes and the joy of jumping with the wind and the rain and the sound of a horn and the birds and the flowers and dry leaves.