You were beautiful, my tiny child, wrapped tightly in my arms, close to my heart. I listened to you breathing. I counted your fingers and your toes. Helpless, you cried out to me and I loved you with every ounce of my soul. Will you hear me when I cry out? Will you hold me close as I held you then? I remember the day You took your first step. There was no stopping you. Your feet gave you freedom to explore the world like never before but danger lurked. I opened those doors anyway, cautiously, and introduced you to the world. Where will you be when my legs no longer run? no longer work? Will you realize that I love freedom too? I laugh about that day you first tied your shoe. We tried and tried to get that rabbit in that hole and you finally did it. You pointed your toes for everyone to see how proud you were. I am proud too, of my writing and my drawing, of my needlework and my cooking. But my hands are beginning to ache and my fingers will not bend. I will lose the things that make me proud except for you. Hopefully not you. Will you let me brag on you? Even tell wild stories that are a bit beyond the truth? Will you be proud of me too? I waved good-bye that morning when you left on that large, yellow bus. I was so scared. I know you were too. You waved at me bravely through the dusty window but I saw the water forming in your eyes. You came home, however, full of pride and joy. You sang the alphabet song and got most of it right. You practiced for hours until you could sing it even in your sleep. But I'm afraid. I forgot whether I took my pills today or not. I forgot if I told this story before. I even forgot once who you were and it terrified me. My mind is my treasure the only thing I have left, and I heard you make fun of me for not remembering that I gave you the same gift as last year. Will you love me when I no longer know who I am? You came home blushing from the glow of your first kiss. Your first love, the one you thought was real. You talked about him non-stop. You changed for him. You gave. But he left you anyway for a blue-eyed girl and I held you while you cried for him. I too have a broken heart. The love of my life left me after fifty-six years. He left me here to live life on my own while he moved on to another realm And I cry for him too. I long for his shoulder and strong embrace. I feel betrayed because he and I made a deal that we would never leave the other alone. Yet I am alone sitting in an echoing house with no hands to hold. You welcomed her home today- your tiny baby girl. She has your eyes and possibly your toes. I see you counting them as they roll me into the room. You finally came to visit. It has been a while. You look up at me with tears in your eyes and ask almost desperately, "Will she tie my shoes when I get old? "