Yesterday my girl turned 18. Eighteen! It feels like a moment ago that Andy and I were passing her back and forth, desperate for sleep and needing relief for our tired arms, hoping her newborn wails would cease.
"Bay G," she called herself as soon as she could talk. Geneva seemed too formal a name to call our Baby G., and in our house we're big on nicknames. "Boonie" soon eclipsed Baby G. She's still Boonie in our family and to those closest to her. Her friends have chosen their own name for her — they call her Viva. I smile each time I hear it. It fits.
The other night over dinner, a friend observed how fortunate we are that Geneva never went through an insolent stage. It's true. Although she struggles with challenges that can make life hard for her and for us, she seems to have skipped that ill-mannered, petulant period for which parents brace themselves. Instead, her words for us are filled with gratitude and grace. She tells us that she loves us several times a day. She's generous with hugs, and still reaches for my hand.
Parents discover that the days are long, but the years are short. I want to slow time and consciously absorb each sweet moment, especially during this year of "lasts" with our girl before she leaves the nest. My photographs attempt to freeze her in time, or at least preserve her forever in my mind at this age. Maybe she understands this need; most of the time she's patient with the camera.
All that, and she's got mad style.
Happy birthday, Boon! We love you, Bay G.