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They clipped a glittery bow in the side of her bun and tied strings to match in her shoes and I heard her tiny feet shuffling with the others behind the curtain. I imagined the smile on her face, a kind but unnecessary reminder from the backstage moms, as she waited for the spotlight and the applause of an audience waiting in anticipation for the chance to see their hearts dancing outside their chest.

The curtains parted and her feet performed the steps she spent the last year practicing. She tapped her way through a theme song about a train named Thomas and later she traded her shoes and her thinner, shorter skirt for a much thicker, layered tutu and gave a breathtaking interpretation of a dolphin named Flipper. The theme of the recital said to “tune in and turn out” and everyone present couldn’t help but oblige.

I watched as her lines were cleaner, a result of longer limbs from her first recital. I watched as she gracefully leaned into her moves allowing the music to influence her. I watched as she traded rows and made memories with her best friend in front of her, beside her, behind her. I watched as my little girl revealed promises of the young lady, the woman, the person she’ll become – the person she is – beautiful, inside and out.


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