Ta Da Moment!
The quiet little girl with hair the color of summer wheat slumped down to the floor, hugging her knees with her back to the wall of the gym. The other girls giggled as they danced with counselors. “Do you want to join us? C’mon, it’s fun!”
With each invitation to join in, she shook her head no and then rested her forehead on her knees as if trying to make herself disappear. Watchful eyes kept a distance but made contact to let her know that her desire to sit aside was ok. Slowly, she raised her head and began to gaze at the assortment of dresses in the corner known as the ‘dress up’ center. She crawled out of her hug, then got to her feet. Walking slowly around the racks of gowns, she reached out to caress the satin and chiffon skirts. She pushed aside some hangers to get a better look at the peach colored princess gown with swirls of jewels embroidered around the bodice. Layers of taffeta poofed out in all directions and she was unable to get her petite arms around the dress to pull it forward. She never looked at me, but I guessed she wanted to try it on, so I silently removed the dress from the hanger and held it up for her to take. Undeterred by the expanse and weight of the gown, she crawled under the poof and came up through the bodice of a dress at least ten sizes beyond her tiny frame.
A slight twitch on the left side of her mouth resembled a grin but no attention was brought to bear. She bent over to gather the waves of taffeta in her slender arms, unrelenting until she was satisfied with her hold on the dress, and then ran with little steps over to the mirror. She turned left, then right, gazing over her shoulder to view the dress from all angles. Suddenly, the half turns became twirls as she gained momentum going around and around. She plopped on the floor, giving meaning to the term poof! The taffeta bubbled up around the waist and then settled in mounds around the bejeweled and free-standing bodice. There was enough room for her to turn around without the dress ever moving, but she did not do this. She kneeled inside the middle of the bodice with her right arm raised high, striking a pose as if to say “Ta Da!” She had seen the other girls do this, calling it the ‘cupcake pose’ because it looked like the top of an extravagantly frosted cupcake. She threw her head back, causing her hair to cascade down her back and then let loose with an unrestrained giggle. She stood up, gathered up her gown once again and headed to the accessories table to select additional adornments.
She then tried on a dozen different styles of shoes. A pair of silver satin long sleeved gloves brought out a delighted “oohhh” which added to a flurry of new combinations to try. More than any words could convey, her imagination spoke in the language of play. Her talents spoke in the language of joyful abandon. She turned toward me. I had only served as the lady in waiting, maintaining a respectful and quiet distance, assisting only as given permission to do so. I had no expectations for her to speak to me, yet I was blessed to hear the words flow so sweetly, “I love this. It’s the b e s-s-s-t day!” Angelic smiles could not have been more moving.