she was small


Last week my sister came to visit me.

Her near week-long visit went by fast. I wasn’t ready for her to go.

As I watched her walk out and pack her truck, get in and settle for a long journey home I thought of when she was a toddler.

A particular moment passed by my brain where Emily was wearing a grey ruffled dress and opening the bottom drawer of the oven pulling out pots and pans so she could sit inside the drawer herself.

Her hair was in tiny pigtails that shot straight out the sides like shorter versions of Pippy Longstocking tails.

Being an older sister by twelve years, I find myself thinking of those moments more and more as time passes.  When those thoughts of the past come up, I then feel a need to watch over her like a mother would now that our own mother is gone.

I’m not a mother. But I am a sister. I hope I can fulfill this need.

I cried when she was walking out the front door to her car, as I do every time my family leaves after a visit.


I remembered when I was fourteen dressing Emily up and telling her to stand against an empty wall in my room for a photograph.

She was small and eager to do it.

I had a royal blue, terrycloth tube top I wore in the early 80’s which I wrapped around her and over her diaper like a mini-skirt, with her own striped toddler tee and sunglasses.

Even then I was thinking of models and fashion, an early attempt at portraiture.

I still love the idea of all of those things and found myself again, before she left for home, dressing her up, telling her to stand against a wall and taking her portrait.

I get to watch her and my other sister grow, mature, be successful.  She’s growing up and so am I, as a daughter, a sister, a photographer.

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