Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Snapshot: My 4-Year-Old Princess

She's looking in the mirror, letting her eyelids be drawn half-closed by some imaginary weight.  It's the weight of drama -- of royalty.  These are her princess eyes. 

Their pretend meaning is partly lost on me; I'm a mere adult in a land of powdery silkiness and feathery gowns, dashing princes and humming sopranos.  Where I see half-drawn eyelids, she may see alluring shyness.  Blinking slowly, her face takes on a suddenly adolescent tinge, and I can't bear it so I tickle her back into focus.

She prances off down the hall, holding both sides of her glittering, purple gown.  Her back is straight, her lashes still fluttering. 

From the bedroom, I can hear her voice.  She is demure.  Kind.  Slightly condescending toward her baby sister (the other princess).  She guides and rules and bosses while tossing out bits of favor: a praise here, a giggle there.

Then, she isn't a princess anymore, but a child.  A girl just on the border of a completely new phase of life.  A four-year-old might be half toddler, half schoolgirl.  She might beg to be held or demand to be left alone.  I can watch very closely -- very carefully -- but I know I'll never see the moment she becomes grown up.  But that won't stop me from looking. 

I stare at her long, dark hair and watch her skipping walk, and I hold tight to this moment. 

Another day, the snapshot is the similar, but changed: she's outside on cool, shaded grass.  Her gown has been traded for soft cotton leggings and a tunic.  She rings-around-the-rosey and chases a bee.  She squeals at her daddy's wrestling hands and darts behind a tree.  She plays like a safely-loved child, without worry or fear.

Still, when she stops to rest, her eyes turn back into those of a princess.  Heavy and dramatic.  Guarded and alluring. 

Too grown up, yet innocently youthful in her pretense.  She's my very own four-year-old. 


  1. She is beautiful! And I love this. I need to go squeeze my four-year-old :)

  2. So sweet. I was just savoring moments with my 6 year old yesterday - my 4 year old today. Something about this season that makes passages and memories of the year before so clear and so important. Nice post - such direct, poignant, significant and sentimental details :-).

  3. Oh I wish I could write as beautifully and descriptively about my own daughters. What a precious gift you have for capturing the moment. And yes, she is a beautiful princess.

  4. Love it!! It is so true that every little girl is a princess. It is up to us to teach them that!!

  5. When did she, like, you know, grow up overnight? She looks like such a big girl in the first picture.

  6. What a beautiful description of that strange transition between toddlerhood and childhood.


Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?