Once, when Edie was very little, we took a trip to Arizona to see my sisters. While there, we went to a park, and put Edie in a swing with her cousin Jane, who is about six months older. James took some photos, and I was struck, suddenly. In that moment, Edie was an extension of me. She was my baby, without a real identity of her own.
But, someday, Edie and Jane will look at these pictures, and they will laugh at themselves, and at us for squishing them into the swing together. They will wonder what we were doing, and why they have such funny looks on their faces. Edie will see herself as herself. As a little version of the person she has become. Not as my baby. Not as a part of me. Just as her.
And, as much as I, of course, want this eventuality, suddenly, I was sad. I missed her.