If you have been reading my daughter's blog, you'll see that Sophie and I had an excursion to a Color-Me-Pink franchise called Libby Lu. It really wasn't as silly as it seemed. Let me tell my side of the story ...
We were at a large shopping mall and Sophie wanted to go to Libby Lu. She had one other experience with a little friend months ago when the girl's mother treated them both. She was eager for more.
Dressing like a fairy princess and getting her hair and nails done was important this Sunday afternoon. Alone with me, she knew that babci would not refuse her. The previous week had been a hard ride for all of us; a tiara and some fairy dust seemed like the perfect treat.
Children are resilient. Sophie was tired, coming down with a cold, but knew what she needed. She needed to be pampered a bit. Don't we all have those days?
I have to admit that walking into Libby Lu was a shock - pink, fluffy, girly-girl things everywhere. Growing up as a bit of a tomboy, this was an eye-opener.
No, we did not have "an appointment". Even though the teen-aged staff were waiting for a large birthday-party group to arrive, they could "fit us in". Ya think? A grandmother willing to spend frivolous money on her grandchild? Of course they'd fit us in! They feed on grandparents.
I was handed a brochure which explained the different "package deals". Sophie chose "the Cinderella" makeover with a bonus stuffed puppy. We then followed the salesgirl back to front of store to pick out Sophie's new pet. She wavered between a chihuahua and a shaggy white Yorkshire terrier. The terrier won out. Next decision was picking the pup's carrying bag and outfit. She chose more pink with a "peace, love and pooches" logo in bright green. And then she named the dog, "Crystal".
We were marched to the back of the store where there was a dressing room. Sophie slipped inside, alone, and soon appeared in a rainbow-colored gown of chiffon, with fairy wings attached. I knew then that she was really getting into this.
The salesgirl sat her down on a pink stool and began applying kiddie-versions of eye shadow, rouge and powder, and, yes, nail polish. Since her mom had already done her nails the night before, the girl just added the new coat on top.
It was then that it got a bit crazy as the birthday-party contingent had arrived and about six or seven girls sauntered past us into that back dressing room. Mothers and cameras were soon giving me claustrophobia but Sophie sat, as regal as a queen, letting the salesgirl part and gather her hair atop her head for the definitive Cinderella look. She was coughing at times and really looked worn out but waited patiently as hair-spray and glitter and plenty of bobby-pins were applied. The crowning touch, of course, was a tiara! I looked at her and felt a lump in my throat. Even the salesgirl could tell what a special little girl this was. Sophie, the Rainbow Fairy Princess, with her pet, Crystal.
Yes, yes, I know what you're gonna say. All the little girls in that store were special too. Probably. Yet, I beg to add: there are kids, and then there is Sophie. Sophie of the dark, deep eyes. Sophie, the old soul, the sensitive soul. Sometimes the keeper of secrets, mysterious and elusive. Sophie, strong and vulnerable. Sophie, who is so hopeful and generous of spirit. Sophie, who can be a typical drive-you-crazy six-year-old one minute and a love-me-let-me-snuggle sweetheart the next. Her intensity is uncanny at times.
She reminds me of my mom. Of course, I did not see my mom as a child, but Sophie shows me what my mom may have been. There is something there, in a look or a mannerism, which triggers such thoughts. I can't explain why. I just know my mom is present - watching over this child, being the hidden angel who comforts and protects. Or perhaps she is hovering as a fairy godmother, part of that little-girl world where everything is colored pink and people live happily ever after.
Sooner or later, the real world makes its claims on everyone, including our precious children.
For one Sunday afternoon, I watch a little girl become a fairy princess. She balances her tiara on her head, looks at me and smiles shyly.
We both know it's a very good place to be.