You can stop now.

That is what I always say to the little people in my life who are called grandchildren. Stay four. Don’t turn five, yet. Every parent knows the feeling when a sweet and special child gets too big to do things that are cute. Naturally cute.

How much longer will this little one, sometimes Elsa from Frozen and sometimes an nameless fairy, prone to tricks and silliness, like to dress up? If older grandchildren are any indication, it won’t be long. Oh, the wigs and dresses and necklaces and arms of bracelets and the long mirror and the funky shoes and box of earrings . . . the make-up and the headbands and the hats and little shawls . . . how will I let them go?

I just sit on a little chair and watch. I straighten things and fasten necklaces. I snap hair bows in place and untangle straps on tutus. I supervise the make-up. I sneak in the snaps of my camera between my oohs and ahhs as each pretty dress is taken from the closet. 

She says, “this is my favorite”. I say “but, every dress is your favorite”. She finally admits that she loves them, all !

So it goes on.

Life and children. Make-believe and dress-up play. Costumes. Being someone else. Being magic. Being special. Being a princess or today, a super-hero.

All made possible by second-hand stores and a little playroom.

I asked if it was hard to play with beautiful, white gloves on. She said that it was easy because that was how you were supposed to play an instrument.  If I put on my winter gloves, I asked (pretending) would I be able to play the piano better than I do?  “Oh, yes”, she said and then she wanted to know why I didn’t already know that. I wondered how I had missed that one.

Grandpa came home. He moved fast. “Look, I’ve caught a fairy”. 

Fairy talk is always a part of our play. Whenever there is a sound that doesn’t belong or a particular, odd ray of sunshine . . . you can be sure that Maya will see a fairy in it and we will have to be perfectly quiet and sit perfectly still for who-knows-how-long until the fairy has flown away. Yes. What I am saying is true and if you are a grandmother, too, you know that I am telling the truth. And, when I say that I do hear the fairy or have certainly seen the fairy, I do not even cross my fingers because children are almost always right.

Little people get tired. She finally did. I was tired long before she was tired but I was determined to keep up. I have learned that being tired shows first in the eyes and then in the corners of the mouth. Instead of buzzing around like bees, children start to stroll around like cats and sit down in warm places. Ahhh. She was ready for a snack and a blanket on the sofa. 

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