We’re in bed reading Cinderella. Lily, through giggles, tells me to stop - she’s adamant that the princess is not named Lilyrella. As we continue to turn the pages, she tells me about the many differences between her own horsedrawn carriage and Cinderlla’s. “When you and I ride in our carriage there are four horses. Cinderella’s carriage only has two.”
We finish the book and she rolls to her back, upset that I’m not reading another. The light rests on her cheeks, giving her face a magical glow as I lay there watching her. She’s quiet and still.
I spend so much of my time with Lily trying to harness her formidable power without hampering her creative fire and fierce spirit. It’s exhausting and there are days (more than I care to admit) that I fail miserably, but then bedtime comes and in the quiet I’m able to smile and just enjoy being there with her. It’s my time to make sure, no matter how often we’ve butted heads during the day, that she knows I adore her.
“Lily, ” I whisper, “I think you’re a pretty spectacular little girl.”
“And I’m so very proud of you.”
A faint smile lifts her cheeks in the soft light of the rising moon and I know she’s heard me. Maybe for the first time that day.