To say I love her is a lie. What I feel for her is more than love, it is akin to selfishness, it is akin to the whole of life; it is life.
I know exactly when this photo was taken, but don’t know by whom. We are on a Caribbean Family reunion cruise, and Teju is eight and was very specific about wanting to celebrate her birthday onboard with all her cousins and other relatives, so I rented a room for the occasion. The red outfit was her choice as well. We had gone shopping before the cruise and she spent a great deal of time, browsing and when she saw it, she declared immediately that it was the one, the exact outfit she wanted to wear to celebrate her birthday on the cruise.
From she was 3 years old, she was very clear about how she wanted to look, her style, panache! We, mother and daughter, are captured at a time when we were still very much in love with each other, when she needed me, when I was her appendage — I was still trying to keep her from coming into my bed at nights.
But this is evidence that once she needed me; even adored me, and once we were so close, and she wanted to snuggle next to me.
I often wonder what causes us to move away from these moments? And how to compare them to the present? We are still close, and still need each other in other ways –in a new grown up way. Are these earlier connections grafted into our psyche? I want her to remember… that red dress and that moment with me?