Halloween 2006. A first. I gaze at this picture, holding back tears, at what was and how time sprints from this little baby to a girl approaching double-digits.  Feisty and independent, at 9 months she grabbed the bottle, eager to forge her own path. Glimpses of her personality bloomed in small ways: her little hands grabbed the edges of the couch and her feet inched sideways, peek-a-boo always meant a deep, guttural laugh that I never forgot and when held by strangers, she not only announced her disdain, but screamed it.

Fast forward almost 9 years later. She shops for the Halloween costume of her choice, fumbling through aisles, trying to find what will work for her. Definite opinions guide her choices. Strong-willed, she inches forward to adolescence. Her excitement about trick-or-treating builds as she decorates her bed room window with sticky pumpkins, cobwebs and lights. All week, I’ve heard her say,”I cannot wait to go trick-or-treat, Momma. I am so excited.”

From babbling to a voice that articulates sentences, I sigh with a loudness I only understand.

I keep watching and listening, accumulating memories.