You sleep like a broken stork.
Toothpaste, hurriedly mashed between the spaces in your teeth, dries in the corners of your huge smile. Sometimes your school pictures show it.
When I vacuum, you pretend that I’ll somehow be able to suck up your shoes, your big black teddy bear, your tricycle.
You take turns but I watch the frustration grow when they don’t play by the rules.
You insist on burping in my face, despite my insistance that it’s not ladylike.
Nothing compares to the anguish of your cries when you’re hurt. They squeeze at my heart and make me short of breath.
But now you are five, and I have to let you go a little more each day. I have to bite my lip instead of shouting “Watch out!”, and bite it again instead of saying, “I told you so…”
Now you are five, and I will let you do your own hair.
I’ll let you eat ice cream (with sprinkles) and not freak out about the clothes you’re wearing.
I won’t supervise. At least, not from two feet away.
Now you are five, but even so, when you grab onto me as I wake you in the morning, I will carry you to the breakfast table, your hands tangled in my hair, your breath smelling like dried toothpaste, and I will wait until you open your eyes and mumble, “Good morning, Mama”.