Later on I eased up on my camera. I still took a lot of pictures, though. I've got a tear and a wave from the first day of school. I've got stirring a pot of macaroni. I've got about a hundred of her just posing. She always loved posing for me. She'd do her best Marylin Monroe or Betty Page. Sometimes she was just silly. Like at Halloween when she stuck her tongue out. She was such a cute wicked witch.
Nowadays I don't take many pictures. I get a set once a year at Christmas, to send out to family, or to put on my desk. She stares at me, smiling for me, out of her wooden frame. She is surrounded by blue cloudy swirly emptiness. But that just makes her more beautiful, she is the only thing of consequence in any of my photos. These I hold dearest to my heart, she smiles so warmly and lovingly, better than any candid pose I could get her in. When she left I pulled out the box full of pictures of her. I went through every single photograph that night, reminiscing. Now sitting on my desk are two pictures, her newest smile, and a picture that I had someone else take in the park, with me holding her up in my arms.
I know that I'm older now and so is she, and I can't carry heron my shoulders like I used to. And I know that I can't make her grow backwards, for one last piggyback ride. But I miss her. And one day I'll get the same feeling I got when I snapped her first step. But for now I'll let her enjoy her independence. And I'll look at her smiling there, and know that she loves me.