'Empty Nest' by Angelita Bradney

I open the box in the attic and find the hospital tag from the day of your birth, your first babygrow, home-made cards for Valentine’s day and Mother’s day, a handprint, the wheels on the bus going round and round, one half of your first pair of shoes, sleep deprivation, the mornings when you climbed into my bed with your hair ruffled by dreams, the power of a kiss to make it better, the time you found an injured bird and kept it warm in a grass-lined box until it was well enough to fly, your favourite colour orange, a jar of baby teeth wrapped in tissue, Christmas decorations formed from cotton wool and silver-painted lolly sticks, seashells, a hamster, your tears (and my anger) when you weren’t invited to a party the rest of your class were invited to, a gingerbread man, perfume you invented made from tonic water mixed with lavender oil and toothpaste, a story, a lopsided cake decorated with jelly sweets and green icing, your first love (the girl next door), your first heartbreak (when she moved away), eat your vegetables, school reports, a Matchbox car, sports certificates, class photographs, they grow up so quickly, what it feels like to be lonely. What it feels like to be able to do what you want. 

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