Saturday, July 16, 2011


Lanie brought down her DS to show me some pictures she had taken. She opens the albums and the DS plays a sweet little background tune. I see the world through an eight-year-old's eyes. Pictures of her, self-portraits with silly smiles, or serious face, or fancy hair styles. Pictures of sisters. Pictures with friends huddled into a camera's focus, a moment captured, a glimpse of what's important.

She continues to go through photos, showing me what matters. We get to her room.

"I took some pictures of my room," she said. I sense her working through the transition. "It's so pretty."

I feel time's hands slip around my neck, squeezing. I inhale sharply.

She's snapped picture after picture of pink and purple: the princess lamp on her nightstand, a room name plaque spelling Elaine, a spotted chair, the wire letters across a wall with staggering L A N I E, the little fort she made in her closet, dolls in a row.

The music plays whimsy and I feel a weight smothering. The weight of goodbye. The weight of time fleeing. The weight of hopes and dreams stunted and moved, or packed away.

I'm really no good at good-bye.

I breathe and smile and rub her back. And there it is: the picture of her new room--dark blue and Spiderman until we redecorate. And there it is, the brick fireplace in the new schoolroom. She's moving on too, snapping pictures of the next place when we were there last week during inspections.

The music plays on. The weight starts to lift.

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