My daughter loves to dress up.
She has a trunk full of princess dresses I've carted home from thrift sales over the years and she loves each and every one of them. Pink she wears when she feels slow and wistful, purple when she feels bouncy and pixie-like, cream with gold cross stitching when she feels like being a powerful ruler.
For years they have transported her into stories where little girls hold kingdoms, and villains are fun to chase but never pose a serious threat, where time moves from minutes to years in a split second, and magic wands really do turn mud pies into delectable mouth watering desserts. They are her uniform just like a policeman has one, as does a soldier.
Her day starts with a dream and a wish and the chances of them coming true rise dramatically with a couple yards of pink, purple and lacy silk taffeta pulled over her sweet little head. It is not uncommon at all, especially during the summer months, to run into her at the Thriftway or the beach in full princess attire and rubber boots. "The shoes don't make the queen, the dress does," she says about this. It's all about the dress.
She gets lots of attention when she does this, most of it positive, but every once in awhile we'll get an annoyed look and even a "is it Halloween?" And to that I say, Let her be. If she wants to be a princess, or a queen, or ruler of all the land, Let her be. The world tells you soon enough who to be and if I can just extend this little slice in time where innocent play takes you to a place of endless magical possibilities, I will, and I do, because this time is too precious to say no.
Time is a constant reminder that is slowly starting to push the boundaries of her imagination and replace it with reality and I reluctantly feel it starting to catch chase. The days of watching her flow through the yard with a stick as a sword and a dirty pink hem that keeps inching up her shin as the years go by are starting to wane. It will hurt when that trunk is rarely visited and those dresses, as tattered as they are, lay dormant. I love those dresses, and I love her, and even though those dresses will be replaced by other things I will miss them and that time in her life where dragons visit regularly and fairies appear to buy her homemade perfume made of muddled rose petals and dandelions.
Her favorite character to be is one of the Three Musketeers spawned by Barbie and the Three Musketeers. She holds practice in the front yard frequently and even ripped her curtain rod straight out of the drywall trying to swing from her curtains just like they do in the movie. Didn't make us happy, but we chuckled at the visual in private. If you ask her what she wants to be when she grows up she will tell you " A Three Musketeer.....and, a school bus driver." Instead of bursting her bubble I Let her be, and support her all the way. You go, girl. Whatever you want to be, is fine with me.
The other day we were walking through our local thrift shop and tucked in the corner smiling at us with a come hither look was a raggedy old scarecrow. He was standing there so pitiful, a little weathered from spending at least one season in the elements, and I swear I saw his lips move and heard him whisper Grace's name. She sucked in her breath as they locked eyes and she ran to him, her face lighting up a thousand watts. In my head I knew exactly why she wanted him. She wanted to beat on him. Just like Corinne does in the movie when she is practicing her crazy cartoon fight moves. A couple pleeeeezes and I really neeeeed it, and we are lugging him to the check out stand as the other moms raise their eyebrows and snicker. I know what they were thinking. Pushover. Why would you drag home an ugly old scarecrow? Why, for my daughter to beat on, of course. Best two dollars spent in a long time.
And so, "Beaterman" stands tall in out front yard, and boy does he take one for the team. She has happily used him for practice and her fancy sword moves have steadily improved since we've got him. He lends a little he-haw quality to the yard, but I've gotten used to it and also to the wicked grin Gracie gets when she saunters up to him with her "sword." And, in the cloak of fading sunlight on a dark and stormy night on the way to the chicken coop to tuck the hens away for the night you will not see the silhouette of a thirty something year old woman pick up a stick and show him a thing or two.
Nope, not me.
En garde, monsieur scarecrow. : )