We arrive late. With the last of the stragglers we scurry to find a seat. I try up near the front on the right but there is no room, so I herd her around to the other side of the stage. There I squeeze us into two seats on the floor. She has to arch her head to see the performers at the front of the room. She doesn't seem to mind.
She watches the actors as they move about and dance and sing. Every so often she turns to me, her nose scrunched up and smiles her happy grin.
She decides she wants to be closer and so she walks over the legs of other parents and around those seated on the floor until she is at the front of the room where dozens of kids sit cross legged watching the show. She finds a spot and sits at the back. She turns to wave at me. I wave back.
Every so often she stands up to get a better view of the actors lying on the ground. She doesn't want to miss anything. I wait until she checks that I am watching her and then motion to her to sit back down. She does.
When the show ends I drag her over to say hi to some friends, but she has no interest in that. She has no interest in the crafts or activities on offer for kids in the lobby. None at all. The show is over and now she is ready for the next adventure.
It's a long walk and I am cold by the time we arrive. I welcome the warmth of the building as we enter through the front door. I would be happy to stand there and soak it all in but the girl is already off, and I follow after her.
She weaves around people and tables piled high with crafts. I remind her to look with her eyes and not to touch. I think she hears me but she doesn't acknowledge my words. She keeps going until she sees the table of cookies being sold by some kids. That stops her.
I promise her a cookie after we have eaten. This is my favorite craft show of the season, in part because of the large quantity of free vegetarian food on offer. We load up our plates and head back to the room with the tables covered in plastic tablecloths. The girl tries a bit of everything but it is too spicy for her liking. While I savor it all, she eats three dill pickles. And then her cookie.
When we are done eating we wander the narrow aisles between the tables. She wants to touch everything. The little Santas. The porcelain plates. The vintage rings. I want to stop and look but she moves fast. She skirts from table to table until she has seen them all.
We play outside on the giant playstructure that she doesn't want to leave until our friends arrive. I manage to convince her to head back in. I watch the girl and her friend climb and play and amuse themselves while my friend shops. They play together so nicely. Only once do I have to step in and ask them to resolve their fight. Does it really matter whether or not one can talk while they are sleeping? Apparently it does.
We all walk home together. I push the two girls in my double stroller and listen to them chatter. My friend walks beside me pushing an empty stroller.
A day with just her and I. Long overdue. Worth the wait.