My daughter was born in London’s Westminster Hospital while I was a candidate for an advanced degree and we both got very lucky. She was admitted to Bessborough Street Day Nursery in Victoria in her first year which meant she got world-class care and I could spend my days in the India Office Library doing research.
Most weekday mornings for almost three years were spent pushing the pram one way or the other to the nursery. We could walk from our 5th floor flat in Dalmeny Court down Duke Street to The Mall and then past Buckingham Palace. We often went through St. James’s Park en route to greet the ducks or swans or pelicans. Sometimes, when it was raining hard or very windy, we’d walk back to Piccadilly, past the Ritz and take the Green Park tube to the Pimlico station very close to the nursery.
Walking home, from the time she could chase pigeons until we left London, was always through St. James’s Park. Once we got inside Dalmeny Court, she always smiled and waved at herself in the lobby mirror until … one day she fell in love with her image.
It was the day of her second birthday and there’d been a party for her at the nursery, so I had my camera with me and had been taking plenty of photos. It was a warm August day and she’d worn a frilly yellow dress inherited from her cousin Alexa and a floppy yellow straw hat for the occasion. She had the Simpson bag which accompanied her daily, in the pram or out walking with me, and when I opened the lobby door, she went straight for the mirror.
Her hat was knocked off and she growled but was not deterred from her objective. She picked it up and put it in her bag, then went back to the mirror again … and kissed herself just as I took the photo!
It is my all-time favorite photograph of my daughter, and for Christmas this year, she took a photo of that photo and had it made into a poster, framed. I’ve got it by my desk. Love it.
So, we kiss 2015 goodbye. I wish everybody a Happy New Year. I wish there could be peace, too.
It goes without saying that I made her birthday cake (but I will say it anyway.)
Update: This is a photo of the poster made of the photo of a photo, so a photo th-rice removed?