Squawk Radio

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Eloisa and the Snow Fairies

A week ago I got an email announcing that my daughter was going to be a Snow Fairy in the kindergarten play. The letter noted that she would need white tights, a white gauzy skirt, and a white shirt. As it happens, my daughter is a tomboy who wouldn't be caught dead in a skirt or tights, but my sister lives right down the road and her two daughters glorify in gauzy skirts. Ooops--she has pink skirts and purple, but no white. She thinks she has a white leotard around the place somewhere. I go on e-bay and nimbly win a white gauzy skirt labeled "snow fairy". Then I realized that in order to get it in time, I have to pay an extra $20 shipping, which kind of reduces the bargain value, but so it goes.

The skirt arrives. It is made of little strips of gauze attached to the waist, with white butterflies at the end. Charming! Lovely! Very...very...girly. My daughter's face is stormy but resigned. The day before the play, I go over to my sister's to pick up the leotard. It's nowhere to be found, although she does find white tights. No problem...I go to the university, leaving leotard-buying instructions with our au pair. At some point during the day, a small pair of white tights slips out of my bag and is left on campus.

That night our resident snow fairy has nightmares. Three in a row. I wish I could say it was stage fright, but it seems to have been related to an injudicious showing of a G-rated movie with a scary witch in it. Said snow fairy wakes up with dark circles and an uncertain disposition.

The snow fairy's mother, meanwhile, discovers the loss of the white tights! Heart pounding, I call my sister. Pink tights, pink tights, pink tights...finally she finds another pair of white tights! The entire family heads to school. All the other snow fairies are already there, and the boy-animals are there too. Those little monsters are greatly taken by the sight my daughter in a skirt (a new look for her), and they point it out. Our snow fairy burst into tears and refuses to make her stage appearance.

Finally the snow fairy's daddy manages to wipe off all the tears and get her in line with her paranormal counterparts. We go back out and sit on small uncomfortable chairs to watch the tale of Crow and the Snow. Our snow fairy gravely dumps paper snow flakes all over the stage.

At the end, the snow fairy posse clusters for a picture. My snow fairy's narrow shoulders are slumped from exhaustion, and her little tummy sticks out. Her elegant, gauzy skirt is pulled way down on one side, giving her a rakish, drunken look. My niece's tights have a hole in the toe. Our snow fairy has gorgeous purple eyeshadow--under her eyes. She's the most beautiful fairy I ever saw.

There are moments in raising a child when you beg yourself to remember the picture, to never forget it, to be able to relive this moment when you are ninety-five. How about the rest of you moms out there? What's an unforgettable moment for you?
Eloisa James, 10:13 AM