The Dance

Her dusty brown ringlets had disappeared before the opening act, the outcome of our first experiment in gravity versus hair spray. She might as well learn early that gravity always wins.

She perched herself atop a red booster and craned her neck expectantly, eying the stage for the slightest sign of movement. She fingered the unfamiliar string of pearls  around her neck, smoothed the green and gold plaid skirt over her knees, admired her black velvet "high shoes". No matter all of it had been handed down, she owned every bit of her outfit.

"That side is fancy, and that side is fancy. All the sides are fancy. Even the sky is fancy." She said, pointing to the balconies on either side, the ceiling above.

When the organ faded lower and lower into the orchestra until disappearing entirely, when a voice from overhead boomed welcome, she grabbed my arm and scrambled to sit on her knees. The curtain rose.

We traveled with Clara to another world, my girl and I. She leaned forward, riveted, entranced, mouth agape. Her eyes never the left the stage.

Torn between two beautiful scenes, I divided my gaze between the dancers and my daughter. I watched her watching, her lips never quite closed, her eyes never still, dancing along. I saw in her face the promise of a childhood memory that will never be forgotten. This was my Christmas gift to her, the "big gift", and we will wrap it under the tree in a picture frame to help her remember this special day.

But really, this was her gift to me, an archetypal yet altogether original scene of mother and daughter, of ballet and beautiful dresses, a gift of moments perfectly stranded together. And I'll wear them around my neck as long as I live.

It's been a long time since I've had the chance to join Emily in Tuesdays Unwrapped. Sure, it's a Monday post, but as I'm only writing once a week (if that!) these days, I can stretch Monday into Tuesday, right?

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