Two and a half years ago, I started baby-sitting Emma.
She was tiny, Gap-ad adorable, and silent.
Topher was always trying to supervise this curiosity and, ever the gentleman, sit on her.
Over the years, they have had an interesting relationship. At times siblings, at times button-pushers, and at times genuine friends. The older Emma became, the more genuine-friend moments they enjoyed.
She would always talk endlessly with Topher, and on lucky days, she would even talk to me.
Today was Emma's last day with us. Her family is moving to Texas this week. Topher understands what that means because he watched his best friend Elijah move to Utah, and then his friend Erin moved to Utah as well. He knows when friends move away to other states, they don't come back. And that's a hard lesson to learn when you are small, or even when you are less small.
We took the opportunity to take some pictures together today, because pictures are permanent when permanence feels slippery.
I did not have to cajole or bribe them to love each other in these photos. Today was a genuine friend day.
Goodbye, Emma friend. We have loved having you in our home. I will miss listening to the lengthy, silly conversations you would carry on with Topher. I will miss trying in vain to fix your ponytails. I will miss your electric, barely-contained bubbly personality. And I will miss your fierce little hugs most of all.
Safe travels, little one. I fully expect you to reconnect with Topher in about 20 years and, if there is a spark there kindled by faint memories together, I promise to dig out these photos for the wedding.