It's less than two weeks before I leave for Vietnam. As the time draws nearer I'm cognisant of how I am feeling being away from my only child. It's been nearly two years since I've been away but it wasn't as far away as it will be this time. So I am starting to hold tight and draw my daughter closer, knowing that I won't be able to for two weeks and so, so far away from home. I thought my next far away travels she would be with me. This was unexpected.
You may have noticed I've taken quite a few photos close to home while my daughter is on school holidays. I've taken the time these holidays to be more present and to more closely observe. This hasn't always been how it is. Being an over-achiever, I have found it difficult at times to pursue my own passions and balance them with the wants and needs of my husband and a child more demanding than I was as a child, but who deserves the best I can give. I am also a person who requires time alone to spend reflecting and thinking.
If you are a mother and you have a daughter who is just as strong-willed as you, then I think you will understand. For me, I can love my daughter so intensely it scares me, and at other times she drives me mad and I just long to flee and spend time alone! I have been known on many occasion to raise my voice and I kid you not - just imagine in your head what an army drill sargeant sounds like...that's me! I haven't been proud of that. But I'm getting better and my approach much more gentler and calming. Being this way more has brought me closer to her. And in spite of the ongoing challenges and the clash of our wills, we don't care to be apart much really.
Even more so at the moment with my departure looming. So I've been enjoying this time observing and documenting my daughter's daily life. It not only gives me a better understanding of who she is, but in photographing I become better at recognising significant moments between ourselves. I've also realised that I haven't necessarily acknowledged them so deeply before as I do now.
The above photo is one of those significant moments. This is my favourite photo. It's of Miss Phil reading to me 'Alice in Wonderland'. It's currently her favourite story. I bought her this beautiful, hard-covered version of Lewis Carroll's most well known and loved classic with beautiful hand-drawn pictures by Australian illustrator, Robert Ingpen.
Bedtime has become my favourite part of the day. I sometimes still sing lullabies and I still read to my daughter. These days though she is also beginning to read to me (as with the above photo), which is a mother's joy. We also have this little thing we say to each other in turn: "I love you" - "I love you more" - "I love you most", and then we have a 'snuggles' (Eskimo kiss). My daughter still insists that I stay until she falls asleep, and then I watch her sleep. This is the most emotional time for me. I always wonder how long before she thinks she is too old for such nonsense. I hope she never thinks she's too old, and never considers it nonsense.
Do you experience simple, yet significant moments like this where your heart feels heavy full of love and longing?
They are my favourite.