Yesterday I tried to help the girls wash the dishes.

“Go and sit down, Mum! We can do this.”

“I have to be a good example, “ I insisted.  “I’ll get lazy if I don’t work. One day there will be just me and Dad left at home and we won’t know how to do anything. We’ll sit here useless and what will we do then?”

“But I’ll always be here,” insisted my seven year old daughter, Gemma-Rose.

“No, one day you will get married and leave home,” I predicted.

“No I won’t. My husband could live here with us.”

“What if he doesn’t want to live here?” I asked.

“Then I won’t marry him!”

The other night, Gemma-Rose climbed onto my knee for a big hug. She touched my face gently and said, “I think you’re the best mother in the world.”

“I bet other little girls think their mothers are the best,” I replied.

“You’re my best mother. You’re so pretty.”

“But I’m getting old.”

“No you’re not. I think you’re gorgeous.”

“You’re only saying that because I’m your mummy.”

“No I’m not. I don’t say things that aren’t true!” Gemma-Rose was rather indignant.

And then she hugged me tight and I enjoyed a very special moment.

Gemma-Rose’s love is so sweet, so unconditional. To her, I am perfect. She hasn’t started to look at me and find me lacking. And she thinks she will love me this way forever.

I am savouring these last moments of pure joy. Soon my youngest daughter’s world will expand beyond me, and the bonds between us will stretch. I hope they will never break but she will certainly move away.  Inevitably, pain will enter into our relationship and into our love for each other.  One day she will realise I have my faults and I am not everything to her.  I will have to let her go. And that will hurt.

I think of Thomas. He never threw his arms around my neck and declared his undying love for me. He never told me I am the best mother in the world. He never promised to stay with me forever.

I have already had to let Thomas go. But the love between us? That is still pure and full of joy and unconditional and that will never change. It will never be tainted by anger, jealousy, criticism, misunderstandings… It will continue to grow unblemished until the day we meet again.

And on that day, Thomas will throw his arms about me and he will tell me I am the best mother ever. He will declare his undying love and promise to stay with me forever. And he will.
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