Will You Tie My Shoes When I Grow Old

Written by: Rachel Kovacs

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? "