The first few strains of the music make me stop what I am doing. A smile creeps over my face. I have to dance.
The girl sees me down the hallway and she rushes to me, her arms outstretched. We clasp hands and start to twirl. The boy sees us and runs to join in. We skip around in a circle, our legs flailing wider and wider as we go.
We listen to each song and story as it comes, sometimes singing along, sometimes dancing. I think about all the times I used to listen to the CD when the girl was a baby. She was too little to understand. I really played it for me.
The girl stands as close as she can to the CD player, maybe hoping that this way she won't miss anything. Finally she walks to the next room. But my favorite story comes on. I move closer to hear better. I don't want to miss anything.
Atalanta's father wants her to get married. She doesn't want to. He doesn't understand. She tells him she will run a race and agrees to marry the winner; she only agrees because she knows she will win. She trains and trains. But so does another young man. A man who only wants the chance to talk to Atalanta. To have the chance to know her better.
The day of the race comes and Atalanta is in the lead as she nears the finish line. Until the young man, John, pulls along side her. The cross the finish line together. The race is a tie.
Still. Atalanta's father the King offers John her hand in marriage. John doesn't take it. He says he could never marry someone who doesn't wish to marry him. Instead they spend the afternoon together talking before going their separate ways, each off to explore the world. Maybe they will meet again. Maybe they won't.
I feel the tears start to come as I listen to the children's story. Tears for all the girls and women that have been married off by their fathers and brothers. Tears for the freedom I have had to choose my own life. Tears for the girl I have just danced with.
May she always believe that she is Atalanta.