The picture folder with the label MABEL currently has 3,425 items in it.
I have been playing the contents of this folder in a loop of continuous randomness today to console myself for missing her with such ferocity.
Of course it is quite right that this baby should travel, since it benefits others and it benefits her. No amount of adulation from however many sources can ever by more than a just recognition of her sovereign significance.
A world full of warmth. A wide world. That is what she should have. And does have. And I am QUITE GLAD of it – except for being simultaneously and personally bereft.
Because I am a jealous, selfish grandfather. Indeed I am.
The 3,425 pictures probably represent about one-tenth of the pictures I have taken of Mabel Watson Payne since August 2010.
Because the pictures are made spontaneously – even carelessly – about 9 out of 10 taken on any given occasion turn out to be hopelessly bad and don't get saved.
Probably about half the images in the MABEL folder have already appeared on this site, more or less at the time they were originally taken. The other half would have been considered good enough to save but not good enough to disseminate.
These rejects comprise the majority of what we are enjoying all afresh here today.
When I look at a newly taken batch for the first time, I am keen to spot the very few primo specimens that are both expressive (informative) and technically tolerable (focus, lighting).
But in terms of this morning's slide show it's ironic to notice how the most flawed and awkward surviving shots are triggering the tenderest emotions.
The worst photos are the best, simply on account of being shuffled aside and forgotten. Left untouched, their vitality has exponentially increased.
How can one tiny child contain such wealth of trust and ardor? Long ago when I was first a parent I was simply too busy (and probably too young, as well) fully to register how miraculously generous the personality of your typical baby really is.
Only as a grandparent do I comprehend the scope of the gift. And can for the first time claim to be properly, adequately, consciously thankful.