Remember holding your brand-new baby and being mesmerized? This baby was yours. Yours to take home. Yours to keep. You knew everything about this baby- every dimple, every roll, you knew what each cry meant. You wondered what she would look like all grown up. You see your face in hers, his eyes.
That baby grows. Still yours. But she begins to take on a look all her own.
She grows some more. She’s both messy and compulsive, sensitive and funny and every once in awhile, pops out these made-up words. And then she’ll laugh.
She gets a little taller. She can almost look you in the eye, so it’s easy to see her roll hers. Her own look. Her own way of doing things. Sometimes you roll your eyes.
You still wonder what she’s going to be like when she grows up.
Then she goes away for an extended period of time. It’s the longest period of time you haven’t seen her.
And she sends you a picture. Of herself. Except, you need to sit down.
Because you don’t have to wonder anymore what she will be like all grown up. There it is. She’s on a beach and it’s that golden hour when everything seems to glow- her skin, her hair. She’s luminous. She looks confident and happy, even though she is thousands of miles from home.
And you are reminded of when she was born and she was yours. Because she’s not yours anymore.
Oh, you’ll get to keep her a little while longer but that’s all – that much you know. It’s like checking your favorite book out of the library. You only get to keep it so long.
Except that she is the best book ever. She’s all your favorite stories rolled into one that will too soon begin with, “A long time ago, when you were mine…”
Text and photo by Jennifer Dziekan
Jennifer lived in Switzerland for three years with her husband and three children. In July, 2015 she found herself making the transition back to the U.S. Nothing was easy except for possibly the grocery shopping. Back “home,” back to work, and back to feeling like a fish out of water.