by Kim Delmar Cory
Published in Strut online magazine-2004
My grandmother still exuded it when in her 80s.
With a giggle. A silliness. A fondness for spending quality time with her girlfriends while still enjoying her own company. A preference for a Hershey’s chocolate bar ( no almonds) before bedtime.
My mother demonstrated it when she used to covet cutting out all my and my sister’s Little Women paper dolls and their outfits because we considered this a chore. She’d wait until we’d gone to bed and pull out the shoebox we kept them in and clip perfect curves and straight lines to her heart’s content.
I nurture it in my college-age daughter when I give her a Sleeping Beauty or Snow White coloring book and a new box of crayons (inhaling the aroma before wrapping) to open every Christmas morning. She still flips through to find her favorite picture to outline before coloring it in, and gazes adoringly at the soldier-like perfection of pristine crayons that are hers alone.
And I piggishly illustrate it when I devour the fat, pink icing rose off a decorated cake faster than a Frenchman can shrug indifference.
It is the little girl that forever lingers within every woman.
That which inspires women throughout the regimen of their days as they shuffle children to appointments, nuke gourmet meals, and fill day planners with important names at important times for important reasons.
It is the innate part of us that never grows up or old, knows everything will always be all right, understands that pretty beats practical every time, and believes that magic, in some mystical, sparkly form, is always just around the corner.
Little girls always believe all their dreams will come true. Without question.
Some of us may even believe we can still join the Ica Capades someday.
And what female executive in a navy power suit doesn’t still want a horse to keep behind the garage?
It is the little girl in us who chooses the teacup painted with dainty roses over the logo-embossed coffee mug every time.
Who worries about what girlfriends think of what we say, wear and do.
Who understands that wearing sassy toe-crushing Fendi shoes transcends sensible rubber-soled shoes any day. We know this from days long past, when we insisted on wearing our black patent leather party shoes before they were properly broken in, willing to brave blisters and our mother’s ‘I-told-you-so’ to uphold the French saying that a woman must suffer to be beautiful.
And who will vie to please our mother beyond the scope of a lifetime. The little girl within recognizes that snuggling into flannel jammies, preferably decorated with bunnies or angels, on a frigid midwinter night still warms more than the body.
It’s degrees of appreciation for the prettiness in life: flowered teacups, lifelong friends, cozy jammies and uncomfortable but beautiful shoes.
This little girl within remembers what it’s like to dress as a Halloween princess, to hold her tiara-crowned head high, to flick her silver-sequined star wand, hear the swish of her floor-skimming gown, and to know what is to shimmer like a moonlit lake on a midsummer’s night.
No wonder women live longer than men.