When I knew that you were inside of me I went to the river, because I didn’t believe in God or anything and so I asked the river for everything to be okay this time and I dreamed, I dreamed every night, you were a girl, always a girl, I wanted a girl and you were going to be a girl and I walked home in the dusk every evening after work and talked to you the whole time, told you all the fun we were going to have, gave you all the advice before you were even born, went through it all with you while your heart throbbed away on the other side of mine…When you were born your big blue eyes just stared at me all night long and you did not sleep and neither did I, and together we stood at the window and watched the new world coming to life outside the hospital and you were a part of it now, you were part of everything and when I looked into your face I knew you and you knew me, and the love, how can you describe that love?…Crashing hammering slamming thundering through me, frightening in its ferocity, in its intensity, a terrifying crescendo of primitive emotions as old as time itself….And outside the hospital the world seemed too bright and too loud and the ground too shaky, too uneven beneath my feet, and the urge was there to hold you forever, to never put you down or pass you over to anyone else…I felt like you saved me…You went to sleep if we played Bob Dylan or John Lennon beside your cot, your hair grew longer and thicker, blonde with a hint of red, you did everything so early, you seemed old before your time, your eczema made you wriggle and writhe and cry and you scratched until you bled and we had to put socks over your hands at night, right up to your elbows and you slept between us and we held your hands gently until you fell asleep and you love your milk but not your food and for a while you were a skinny baby with no chubs! I had you facing me in your pram and talked to you the whole time, told you what everything was, duck, quack, dog, woof, flower, tree, bird…Boobah, Fimbles, Storymakers, Little Bear, Hoobs…I’m a blue hippo! Hipp, hipp, hipp!…Couldn’t put you down because you only wanted me, had to carry you everywhere, screamed in your buggy, screamed if I went to the loo or had a bath, make the most of it someone told me, she won’t feel like that about you forever, one day she will not even want to hold your hand…It’s not enough time, not enough time, never ever enough time…First birthday, yellow dress and hairclips, Boobah cake and talking Fimble, toy piano and Andy Pandy..Andy Pandy, Pandy Pandy! Lost and found so many times…you wouldn’t put him down, you had him in your arms in every photograph for years to come, you wouldn’t, couldn’t sleep without him…Second birthday trampoline, party time, fairy wings and Room On The Broom, every night after bath, wrapped in a towel to read it on the potty, a chocolate button for a wee wee, wrapped up tight in a towel and swung back and forth like a clock pendulum, tick tock, tick tock, ghosty maggot baby! Baa baa back eep ave oo any ool? Yessir, yessir, ee ag ool!…father kisskus, father kisskus, ee got stuck! Ee got stuck! Comin down the chimney, comin down the chimney, what bad luck, what bad luck! Winnie the Pooh book at bedtime, all the actions, pat a cake pat a cake bakers man, round and round the garden like a teddy bear…Oakie book again and again and again and again and again, you got a mop in your eye! You’re shot out of a peanut! To the crows on the phone lines on the way back from Devon; if you don’t get down I’ll punch you down!…Rory the Tiger and Anxious the Elephant! Pink sparkly wellies and fairy wings, summer shoes, look at my summer shoes! Brum Brum gets things done! Talking and talking and talking and never stopping, chatting away on your buggy board and Barbies and Princesses and Dora the Explorer, backpack on and map in hand…Barbie and the magic of pegasus! Scooper not Scooter and so bright and so smart and shining all the time, shining, but so unsure, and chewing your fingers and clinging to me, pushing others away, only mummy, only mummy can do it, blonde pigtails and blonde plaits and pushing a buggy with too many bags on the handles and getting so angry when it keeps tipping up but do it myself, do it myself, all the time, never wanting help…And it’s not enough time, it’s not enough time, it’s never ever enough time…and the days and weeks and months and years are stolen from me and we try to hang onto them and slow them down and hold them tightly to soak all the joy from them but they speed on and tear away and you get bigger and bigger and you never stop talking, never stop talking, and you know it all, and you know it best, and you know how to argue and you hate to give in…Glasses and grommets…Concumber not cucumber, pagapink not pavement…and you never give in, and its maddening but it makes me smile, and you fall off your bike and get back on and fall off and get back on and you never give up and you do it all so quick, it all comes easy, but you take it all so seriously and still so unsure, still chewing the fingers and twirling your hair…I watch you skip down the alley way, I watch your plaits swing from side to side, and you are talking, always talking, and I watch you skipping away from me and the tears are there, always in my eyes behind the smile because I can see the girl you will become, the teenager, the adult, and it’s too fast and it’s not enough time and its never ever enough time and so I live in fear and regret and a pain and too much love and joy, too much to contain, I love you so much it hurts, I love you more than you will ever love me, I wanted you for so long and you saved me and you are my DizzyBean and you are my Princess and you are my AngelPie and you don’t hold my hand anymore, but you do slip your arm through mine and pull me close, just briefly, and you always have your head in a book and you are restless and bored without one, and when you are not reading you are writing stories that take my breath away, and again the tears are in my eyes for you, for you, and it is still going too fast and you flick your hair and choose your clothes and you smile shyly but you are so polite and so smart, and now you are getting into music, ear plugs in at all times, faraway look in your eye, and you talk about the lyrics and you let me in and it feels like sharing the greatest of secrets, and you are so concerned about the rights of others, and so outraged that anyone is made to feel bad for who they are, and now you’ve gone and cut off all your long blonde hair…I said you have to give me a chance, you have to give me a moment to catch a breath and catch up and come to terms with the loss of my little blonde haired girl with the plaits…you want piercings and tattoos and you are proud to be different, and oh how that scares me and yet makes me swell with pride…you have more courage than I have ever had…and even when you argue and when you flounce and slam doors, I get that tear in my eye Bean, that tear in my eye is for you, from the moment I knew you existed, from the moment that love exploded so violently inside me when we stared at each other all night and you, you have made me a better person, a person filled with too much love, a person with courage and hope, and you make me want to be everything I can for you, and I will have to stand back to watch you go, to watch you skip and run away from me, again and again until the gap gets bigger and longer, and it will hurt my heart and my eyes will sting but I cannot keep you forever, I cannot stand at the window and halt that moment when I share you with the world outside and everyone in it, I cannot slow down the time, and it is never enough time, never ever enough time, my DizzyBean, my little Bean, time spinning on…that’s what motherhood is, it is not enough time to hold your hand, and kiss your cheek and smell your hair and sleep beside you and watch you dream….