How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, says Will Shakespeare. Oh wait,
did Browning write that? Did I not do a
Degree in this? Who knows. Before you, there was
Another me. She liked her job, her books,
Her wine. She drank coffee and had blow drys.
Now you. You taught me much. Like love, whilst drenched
In peanut butter flavoured vomit. Like
Patience, while your cries gradually softened
To whispered breath as all the while I sang
Old songs and hymns, your tiny form on my
Old heart. You were the Tiny. That’s what we call
You, our baby, though you were never small.
Our beloved. So tall, in clothes for those
Of twice your age. So beautiful and so
Tall. Our last week as a pair of giggling
Clowns, lazy picnickers, of grimy diners, lounge
Lizards (lounging in parks, cuddled on chairs),
Is here. Will your new nanny know the ways
I love you? Will she know how you like to
Hold your monkey as you fall asleep, and
For your Mummy to hold you when you wake?
That your outstretched arms mean you want to be
Close? That you love cats, clocks, balloons, balls that
Bounce, Bells, Mungo Jerry, spoons, tuna?
I need to tell her that you don’t like the
Opera! You know, just in case. Oh dear.
You know, you brought me to my knees in prayer
When it was hard and when it was sublime.
You. You widened my smile and deepened my
Laugh. I return to my desk as someone
Other than that one who left. I am softer.
Tougher. Fragile. More wise? I’m older. I’m
Younger. This is starting to sound like a
Meredith Brooks song, but you know what I
Mean. How can I describe the love I have
For You? How can a simple sonnet tell
Of such depth of feeling when try as I might, I’m
Just not Shakespeare (Or Liz Browning either).
A year of unfinished coffee, bad hair,
Flip flops, chipped nail varnish, and love.
Fourteen lines are just not enough.
This blog is part of our ‘A Letter To’ series.
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