I don’t always have time to write and it’s something I would like to do more of. As you know, I normally post images from shoots and tell you a little about them but let’s not forget the emotional impact images have on all of us every day – especially when they are of our loved ones. Sometimes it’s not even the ones of them smiling and looking at the camera which have the most impact.
I took this image of my little girl in September at an outdoor pool near my late grandmother’s house. We were visiting family in Nidwalden and in fact my dad was also over from the UK visiting us. My brothers and I had come to this place to swim many times ourselves as children so it was nice to bring my own kids here too. With my dad visiting, my camera was close to hand and we had taken some images of him and the children together and then it was time for a swim.
Looking back at this image recently, I started to imagine my girl at 18 and how this was one of those memories I would remember – that warm late summery day in a place which meant a lot to us with family and with my two children who would soon no longer be five and three.
So here’s a few lines I wrote in my head (and now here) to my future 18 year-old girl – maybe just before she takes part in a swimming competition…
I remember the days when you couldn’t wait to run and jump in the water – when fear was a word that didn’t exist in your world and you felt invincible. I guess you were always meant to be a water baby as you came into the world whilst I sat in a huge bath – a totally unplanned water birth but it was the best thing for both of us. We started with baby swimming when you were six months old and you gurgled and splashed as we sang songs in Swiss German in a tiny pool with other tired parents. Then I would watch you crawl into the lake before you could even walk, so desperate were you to swim. At age four we signed you up for swimming lessons at the local pool and usually turned up late a little frazzled having picked you up directly from nursery to get you there in time. Sometimes your little brother would fall asleep on the way there too which would make it a little tricky when we got there… then a few months later, encouraged by your dad, you were jumping off the big diving board into the deep pool with me sat tensely at the side ready to dive in after you. But I never had to.
Now at “half a five” (as you call it), I can see the tomboy you are going to be (although I do catch you playing with dolls from time to time). I know that I can’t stop you from being who you want to be- I can only support you to find your way and trust that you will be ok and that your guardian angel does a good job… you tell me you want to be a boy, you want to climb higher, and like that fireman you just saw, you want to jump from high up above onto a trampoline and abseil down a crane … and now at 18 ready to dive into your new life, I can still see that five and a half-year old sitting on a surfboard looking out at the lake wondering how far you can get before I come and drag you back in. In fact, I had just dragged you back in as you sailed through the shallow end with your little brother shouting at you to get back (he’s the cautious one).
I wish I could keep you like this but it’s time to for you to grow up and see that great big wide world. Love you baby girl.