I remember going through my closet when we were packing to move to this house. As I got to the stash of formals and semi-formals pushed to the very back, I considered e-Baying them. After all, I'm a mom. Mothers have no reason to own a handful of different fancy dresses. Most of them haven't been worn since before The Oldest was born.
And then today, I received an invitation, written in pencil on construction paper, as I was fixing dinner. "Dance, dance, dance!" it read. "You are invited to Chloe and Cora's ball and feast. Please wear a fancy dress and dress shoes. Tickets are two dollars."
You should have seen their faces when I showed up in the play room wearing a shimmery, strappy semi-formal and sparkly silver heels. "Mom! You look.... um, you actually look.... pretty." Sigh. All that effort, and that was the best she could do for a compliment? But hey, a compliment's a compliment. I'll take it.
And so we turned on Vivaldi, and I twirled around the playroom in my fancy high heels, doing my best to look graceful while dancing with a four foot long stuffed dragon. Both girls (and several stuffed animals) gave speeches, we feasted on crocheted play food, and we danced some more. (The second time, I had the pleasure of dancing with Grover. He's a much better dancer than Dragon.) And then the timer rang saying dinner was done, so I bid them adieu, curtsied, and thanked them for the lovely time.
Did I have time for a ball just then? Of course not. If I'm to get all of the "important" stuff done around here, I'll never have time for such things.
Except that, at that very moment, that ball was the most important thing I could have done. I could tell because of the looks on their sweet faces - eyes wide and enormous grins, giggles and curtsies and faux-British accents that are saved for only the most special of moments.
I hope I remember more often to take care of those Very Important Things before anything else. Too often it seems that laundry, dishes, dirty floors and dusty furniture take precedence. How many times have I been invited to a play, or a puppet show, or a ballet recital, or a picnic, and couldn't find the time to attend? I'm not sure the number, but I'd be ashamed to admit it even if I did.
It won't be long before there are no more invitations, no more balls, no more stuffed animals, play food, and dress-up clothes. And those things are the ones that matter most of all.