Yesterday was the sweetest of mornings. Sugar plum came to see me, her usual charm in full-swing from the moment she exited the car and raced to where I waited for her on the sidewalk. I swooped her up in my arms and felt the first hint that this was going to be an emotional day for her Aunt Dayle. Did I tell you? Sugar plum is starting to school. I know. While I was looking right at her, she went from being a baby to a school girl.
You might think to yourself, What’s the big deal? You’re her great-aunt. Who is close to their great-aunt? I have two grandnieces—one I call sugar plum, the other one pie—and they've always felt more like grandchildren to me than grandnieces. If you recall, last year, I spent a month being pie's full-time nanny until other arrangements could be made. No words for how dear and precious those days were and still are.
In sugar plum’s case, her parents have been bringing her to see me, regularly, since she was seven-months old. There was a period of time when she came twice a week sometimes, but usually a few times each month, unless The Man and I were out of town. This collage is just a small sampling of hundreds of photos from time spent with sugar plum.
That’s why yesterday was an emotional day for me, and I knew it would be, for it brought back so many memories of past visits, how quickly she has grown into this amazing four-year-old (she'll be five in December), and how, after this day, nothing will ever be the same.
Not that she’s going far away, not that she won’t be back to visit, but her little days of leisure during the week, days of going to see her grandparents, or coming to visit her great-aunt and uncle on a whim, those days are over. A new chapter has begun. Her time will mostly be spoken for in the years that lie ahead.
As we played together, doing all of the things we’ve done so many times before, I soaked up the moments, letting each image sink deep into my heart for safekeeping.
When her mom came to pick her up, we sat on the couch for a bit and talked about the fun sugar plum would have in school, the friends she would make, the things she would learn, the places she would go.
Later, we walked outside together, my heart about to burst. With a spring in her step, sugar plum walked beside her mom to the car, and, as she rounded the bend, her little voice called out to me, “I will miss you!” And that’s when the tears came. I managed to call back, “I will miss you, too,” and, although my face was smiling and my hands were waving, as they drove into the August afternoon, I couldn’t see a thing for the blur of tears in my eyes.
Oh, my sweet sugar plum, how I will miss her, how I do love her, and how grateful I am that her mom and dad shared these fleeting years of sweetness with me.