Little Girl Turns Thirty

My cousin Lori in Colorado turned thirty last week.  I know...  she a baby.

Lori is my only cousin on my Dad's side of the family.  We played a lot together as kids, went on lots and lots of family vacations together, told lots of secrets...  Oh, do I got stories.

Her husband, David, threw a big surprise party for her over the weekend.  I was so nervous about somehow ruining the surprise that I didn't even call her on her birthday.  Just sent her a text.  I couldn't be sure that I wouldn't blurt out, "It's your birthday! You're turning thirty and David is throwing a huge party and everyone but me is coming and it's going to be huge!"  

Couldn't trust myself.  Text it is.


I so wish I could have been there...  But Kansas is big.  And it's in the way.

David had family and friends email him secret stories and photos of Lori to give to her as a birthday gift.  Since I couldn't be there, I definitely wanted to be in on that little part.  And I got stories.  Oh, do I got stories...

Did I mention I got stories?


Here's one little story.  And a couple of photos.  Don't laugh.  I had frizzy hair.


Cinderella Wore a Green Bathrobe

Once upon a time, there were two little girls.  The first was a few years older than the second, and very bossy.  But don't worry about that little one.  She could hold her own.  Like, for reals hold her own.  Don't worry about her for a second.

So Big Girl and Little Girl liked to play dress up.  But not just any run of the mill game of dress up.  Oh, no.  That's for average, boring, unattractive little girls.  Not like these girls at all.  These little girls were like walking little beams of the purest sunshine.  Always happy, always said please and thank you.  Above average in every way… sparkling wit, charming, vivacious little darlings.  Just ask their parents.  On second thought, do not ask their parents.  Whatever you do, do not ask their parents.  They will tell dirty lies.  

Moving right along…  Little girls.  Perfect angels.  Dress up.

As I mentioned previously, regular boring old dress up didn't quite cut it for Big Girl and Little Girl.  No.  Instead, led by the brilliant directing talents of Big Girl, the two would put on elaborate theatrical dramatizations of the Disney Classics.  You know…  Cinderella.  Lady and the Tramp.  Robin Hood.  The sets and costumes were constructed exclusively from the furniture in the living room, and the contents of their Grandparents's closet.  And let me tell you, they were spectacular.  

Big Girl and Little Girl came from a patient and indulgent family…  to a point.  The egg timer was set for each riveting performance, and the play could only last until the dreaded little ding sounded.  Which, was by the way, very insulting.  Especially to Big Girl, who poured her heart and soul into her daringly raw, and provocative performance of the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland.  You can't set an egg timer on art, people.  You just can't.

This particular day, the show was Robin Hood.  A personal favorite of Big Girl's.  Like I said, she was a bit on the bossy side, so she pretty much called the shots.  Pretty much.  But not today.  Sadly, not today.  Little Girl really, really wanted to do Cinderella instead.  But they had put on Cinderella the day before, and Big Girl knew that the audience needed something fresh.  Something to really wow.  Knock their socks off.  So she was pulling out the big guns.  Robin Hood had it all.  Action, adventure, friendship, romance…  But what Robin Hood didn't have…  was a princess.  Yes, yes.  I know.  Maid Marion.  But Little Girl was not fooled.  She might have only been four years old, but she knew that Lady Marion was absolutely not.  NOT the same thing as a princess.  Puh-lease.  For one thing, she was a fox.  Not as in, Wow, what a fox!  But an actual fox.  A member of the canine family with a long, bushy tail and fur on her face.  And she didn't wear a proper tiara or a pouffy enough of a dress.  These distinctions were not lost on Little Girl.

"But I want to be Cinderella!"  shrieked Little Girl, stamping her foot.  And I'm not kidding about the foot stamping.  I distinctly remember Little Girl as a foot stamper.

"There's no Cinderella in Robin Hood."  Big Girl barked, stuffing a squirming Little Girl into a too long, green bathrobe.  "Okay, now for this scene, you're Sir Hiss, and I'm Prince John.  Keep your arms at your sides and slither around like a snake, and I'll tell you what to say."  

That was rehearsal.

Audience sitting on the couch and in the chairs that were not part of the elaborate set.  Lights dimmed.  Egg timer set.  Curtain up.  

Show time.

"Sir Hiss!  Stop hissing in my ear!" followed by a wild swipe at the scowling toddler in a bathrobe with her arms folded across her chest.  "Hiss.  You deliberately dodged."  

"I wanna be Cinderella!"

Mutiny on the high seas.

Oh, no.  This couldn't be happening.  Big Girl could hear the persistent tick of the egg timer.  The audience was on the edge of their seats, hungry for this dynamic performance, waiting for their lives to be changed, waiting for their souls to be stirred...  Big Girl said her lines again, hoping to jog Little Girl's memory that they were, in fact, on stage.  

"No!  I wanna.  be.  CINDERELLA!!!!"  Little Girl wailed, the sleeves of her green bathrobe flapping up and down in frustration.

Oh, for Heaven's sake.  I told her to keep her arms at her sides.  She looks nothing like a snake.  Nothing at all.  Mortified, and painfully mindful of the egg timer, Big Girl roughly shoved Little girl aside and began reciting Sir Hiss's lines at top speed in an affected and snaky voice.  She was aware of how ridiculous she looked, playing both Prince John, and the part of Sir Hiss…  Without even wearing the green bathrobe… but the show must go on.  And go on it did.  However strange it must have been.  One girl playing all of the character roles of Robin Hood, while the other, off to the side twirling around, occasionally tripping over her long hem, and singing Bibbiti Bobbity Boo at the top of her lungs.

Well, Little Girl and Big Girl grew up, as is often the case.  They both got married, both live in the suburbs, and each have a house full of rambunctious boys.  Little Girl has abandoned her desire to play the princess, settling instead on the role of Queen.  And I must say, it suits her.  The same traits that made her a very irritating Sir Hiss, serve her well as Mother of the Realm.  She isn't pushed around.  She won't be told what part she is supposed to play… she'll decide that for herself, thank you very much.  She will twirl around and sing her heart out, even if she's twirling and singing all by herself.  She has, in a word, gumption.  And it is my single favorite thing about her.  

This year, Little Girl turns thirty.  I feel so privileged to have been here, to have been a part of her transition from Princess to Queen.  It's a rare and beautiful thing to not only love the person you grow up with, but to like them too.

Cheers, Queen Lori.  You'll always be the Little to my Big.

oh, the frizzy bangs.  the wretched, frizzy bangs.

this, is classic Mariah and Lori.  Cheezeball, goofy Mariah...  big grin.  Pretty, sweet little Princess Lori.  yup.

my wedding day

Happy 30th, Lori!  Welcome to being a Grown Up!

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