She was a baby here, in the grass and the sidewalks she first walked upon. Crawled upon. Clung to my chest from her carrier, feet dangling, socks peeling and falling without my knowledge, blown by wind down side streets, lost from see.
Now she chases birds down crooked sidewalks, points to strollers with pacified faces, falls on her knees and stands again.
"Baby," she says. "Baby!"
She won't remember her red dress and how she walked all the way home from the Farmer's Market wearing it, following the textured spots like isolated paths.
How much I'm looking forward to new walks on less familiar streets - our exploration of new yards and rocks and trees - making friends with new babies, neighbors, forging secret passageways in our own backyard. Finding new street signs to shake with all our might.
And yet, no matter how much we can't wait to leave, there's a part of me pushing down on time with the weight of me. Toes trying mightily to clutch at our foundation through the heaviness of re-soled shoes.
We were a family here first. When our children were babies. When Hal and I were strangers. When these streets of ours were new.
How quickly we outgrow our bedrooms. Seek new shells. Need haircuts so we can look upon new and unobstructed views.
She may not remember this house. These blocks we walked on daily. The tufts of grass in strangers' yards we trespassed through, picking dandelions and inhaling them on accident before holding hands and walking all together home.
Which is why I take a thousand photographs. Write a thousand posts, all stories that have taken place in her first neighborhood, our memories like stamps in the baby book. And beyond them: the trace amounts of pavement these old streets have left upon her sandals*.
*The invisible kind, impossible to outgrow.