Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Relic

Every night before bed, the children and I go up to my bedroom and sit on my bed with our snuggly-blankets wrapped around us while I read a chapter of our bedtime story. And every night, Little Mouse, who is nearly eleven, brings an old, folded nightgown with her and places it reverently upon her lap. She calls it her Relic.

The Relic is a white tricot nightgown with lace trim, sparkly beads, and a picture of Ariel, Disney's Little Mermaid, on the front. Little Mouse received the Relic when she was four years old. It was a Christmas gift from an auntie who understands traditional little girls who like pretty things far better than I.

When she was four, it skimmed the floor when she walked and with her long, pale blonde hair, she looked like a little ghost-child gliding along. Now, it barely covers her knees, and I'm amazed she can still pull it over her head.

A few weeks ago, when she wore it to bed for the last time, I gently suggested that perhaps it was time to retire it, as it looked rather uncomfortably tight about the arms and chest. The look on her little face was tragic.

I can only guess what the demotion of her favorite nightgown to mere relic means in her mind, but I know exactly what it means in mine.

My baby is growing up.

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