The baby girl is on the move. Rolling from room to room with speed and a triumphant smile. I turn my back to wash my hands and gone! - through a door to the room beyond.
It begins then - an independent girl - with a will and a direction very much her own. She is strong - plucked from a warm bath she protests and strains against her mothers arms to climb back in. A chair, barely used by my son, is worn and weak at the joints from the strength of her bounce. The hand need not rock this cradle, its owner has a force and desire to propel it on her own.
Her brother loves his cuddles, but my warrior girl strains against too close an embrace - should it restrict too much her ever moving limbs. A mothers want to keep her children close - to kiss an infant destined to grow and leave her side. My artist friend describes motherhood as archery - 'You can aim the arrow straight, but you have to let it go'. I am keen to keep this babe around, in no rush yet to watch her walk and talk and run ahead.
Plump, rosy cheeks and a side-swept lock of hair, cotton romper'd with no need yet for shoes of her own. On a day when newspaper headlines leave us sick with fear for a family we do not know, I wish not to see my daughter crawl. I tell her 'stay around, stay small, stay safe - when you roll from this room and out to our hall, know your mother loves you - and that out of sight is not - is never - out of mind...' x