Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Some days she is sixteen already. Her petite face appears thin and striking—all chin and cheekbones, lashes and lips. Her sandy-brown curls argue with being pulled against their free will into a ponytail on the back of her head, accentuating the aforementioned features. Some days, she is stunningly beautiful. The maturity blindsides me, causing me to catch my breath and to play with her longer, while there is still time to play. Some days, I can see her as she will be.

Some days she is two again. Her face is fleshy and full, round and ruddy. Piggy-tails punctuate her innocence—eyes wide and grin large. Some days, she is irresistibly impish. Her heart is on her sleeve and her baby-faced glances search my eyes for reassurance. I am quick to give it to her, lest she look for it elsewhere. Some days, I can see her as she was.

But most days, she is somewhere between the two—kind of like watching a “before” picture morph into an “after” picture and somewhere in the middle all the aspects of both are there and you think to yourself, “Boy, that looks weird.” Her shifting features catch me off guard, as do her shifting moods, interests, and allegiances. She is, to borrow a phrase, somewhere between the “now and the not yet,” and it can be, at times, unsettling.

I wonder what it is like for my parents, seeing my thirty-five-year-old face juxtaposed against that of my six-year-old “mini-me.” Is it as surreal for them to actively watch the passage of time in the face of their daughter as it is for me in mine? Or more so, to see it happen on two screens as opposed to my one?

Perhaps this is why I’m more of a snapshot girl—I long to capture a single moment. I want to isolate it, protect it. No morphing for me—I need to see things as they are in a given space and time. But to my dismay, life doesn’t work that way, and neither do children. The reality is that both are there—the babbling toddler prancing around in my shoes and the giggling teen preparing for the prom—and I can either shy from them, or embrace them before they shift yet again. And they will, indeed, shift again.

Some days, she is six.

Some days, she is ageless.

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