It goes so fast, the old lady said to me. Moo cooing in her pram, pretty in pink.
Treasure every moment, she said with a faraway look in her eye.
I humoured her with a smile and a nod and went on my way, so much to do before naptime, the only time of the day I got to breathe. To sit without someone attached to my body one way or the other. Such a difficult baby, needing me all the time.
I turned back and saw her looking at me wistfully, raised my hand in a wave to the woman. Old in my eyes, but probably no more than 50.
I thought of her this morning. Moo sitting on the edge of the bath, her makeup smeared, exhausted but exhilarated from the night before. A night where she, along with thousands of other screaming fans, rocked out at the AC/DC concert. A night when she caught a train in the middle of the night to travel three and a half hours home without me there to protect her from the shadows that danced in my minds eye. A night – and the whole day before – that I could not wrap my mind around her being so far away surrounded by strangers. My breath shallow with the ‘what if’s my brain kept haemorrhaging.
She excitedly tells me about her adventures of the previous day and night, as I apply my own makeup, and how she cannot wait to do it again. The plastic wristband that ensured her entry metres from the stage still attached to her wrist, a wrist resting against her favourite pyjama bottoms. Pyjama bottoms that I bought her years and years ago.
All I can hear is a wooshing sound, like waves crashing on the beach and a faint screeching. But I smile and nod and carry on as normal as my heart starts clenching because, at that moment, in that light, I can still see the faint scar from her birth. The scar the doctors said would disappear quickly, but here we are 18 years later and there is that crescent moon of a scar on her cheek from the failed forceps delivery that almost took both our lives.
It goes so fast, the woman said.
Wasn’t it just yesterday that she was weaning/crawling/starting school/ getting her first bra?
Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was the 18 year old spreading my wings?
Wasn’t it just yesterday?
We have grown up together, me and my Moo. And now it is time for me to let her go.
Whether I am ready or not.