All she wanted to do was dance with Cinderella. From the moment she woke up this morning until the lights dimmed on her first live theater experience, all her thoughts were dancing with the princess. She even washed her face, picked out her prettiest dress and planned on wearing her purple "slippers." As serendipity would have it, one was even missing.
Oh the questions:
"Can we taked the errplane, mama? "
"Can I dance wit her? I wanna dance wit Cinderedda."
"Where are we? What is this place? Who are all these people?"
"Where is Cinderedda?"
And the comments:
"Hey, they ripped my chicket."
"I wanna sit with you, Mama."
"Hey. I tant see. TURN ON DE LIGHTS."
"He's a good guy, Mom. De Prince(ess) is a good guy."
So, in addition to sleeping in a crib her father slept in (something she understands and now informs me of daily) and being enrolled in a pre-school I attended as a tot, Annabel has now been in the audience of a theatre I went to for the first time when I was a few years older than she is now (I saw Sleeping Beauty). And no. It wasn't the same. After the show, there were so few audience members they'd invite us on stage and we'd all dance. I even remember the rust-colored corduroys I wore as I held hands with Beauty and skipped a circle around the stage. Storybooks come alive, it seemed, just for me.
These days the audience is packed. Wall to wall children, and taking a turn on the dance floor with the star of the show just isn't practical. Instead they gather outside to sign autographs. We file outside and wait in crazy lines that overlap and move to the left when we weren't looking. As I stood there pining for Annabel to have the experience of my childhood, she broke free from me and, holding her pencil and her autograph book against her chest, tunneled her way through legs and elbows right up to Cinderella.
"My name is Annabel. Tan you sign this peas?"
It was a remarkable display of tenacity for such an otherwise shy little girl. But as her idol signed, I could see this new nerve drain away.
"I wanna da dance with Cinderedda," she whispered as we walked to the car.
"What if we go back and dance next to her. How would that be?"
"Oh, I like that."
So that's what we did. And it was wonderful, too.