Our daughter, Holly, took ballet, as little girls do. When it was Halloween, their teacher, Miss Lynn, invited them to wear their costumes to class. Every other little girl was a fairy or a princess. Tiaras sparkled. Pink chiffon rustled. It was all delicate sweetness. Except for Holly.
She wore her elephant costume, thick and plush and gray and awesome—or so I thought until we went to ballet class and I sat on the other side of the oppressive viewing glass and watched her stomp around. The trunk hung heavy over her face. She couldn’t see.
“Do you want me to tape up your trunk, honey?” I asked when they were having a little break from all their twirling.
“Yes, please!” she answered.
I borrowed packing tape and folded the trunk up and attached it to the big gray head of my little girl, the class elephant. She could see, but it seemed even worse.
“Aren’t you hot?” I asked.
“I’m fine. Just let me go,” she said.
She moved slowly around the room in the circle with the other little girls, swaying to the music, distinctly herself—my sweet elephant.
Years later, drinking a pot of tea together, Holly told me this is one of her best stories. The memory is a treasure. She was an elephant in a room full of princesses, and she didn’t mind at all.
(From The Minister’s Wife)