There’s one day every year to which Grace counts down with unparalleled shiny-eyed fervour. It’s not Christmas, or her birthday, or the start of the summer holidays, though of course all of these are also proceeded by repeated questioning, date-checking and suppressed thrills.
Her anticipation of this year’s event started precisely one day after last year’s event. On that day Grace drifted dreamily past me, trailing her fingers along the furniture, her mind turning on internal images of the night before. I asked her if she was alright: she barely heard me.
When I went upstairs later to monitor her progress towards bed, I found her at the sink in the bathroom, gazing into the mirror at herself, her tortoiseshell eyes lit with the amber light of her imaginings. As I entered the room she turned to me and said, as though continuing a conversation started much earlier: “… so then, Mummy, next year I can be – .” (more…)