Laughter filled the air.
Smiles occupied her face.
Cherry cheeks were beneath the fountains, two pigtails, or two braids.
In her closet, tutus were crowded next to dresses and fun, colorful shirts.
On adventures she would go in her favorite rain boots and tutu, holding on to me tightly.
My friends and I were happy and felt loved.
But then that faded away.
She comes home less. She has to sit around staring at papers and the weird glowy things.
She seems miserable while she does it all. Fighting to stay awake. Hunched over. I’ve even seen her shed a tear over her horrid work before.
At first, I was confused and felt rejected. But I soon came to understand this as the new normal. We all did.
There are the occasional times when she can come back to her family. When she pulls out her old pigtails and when she brings us out of the dark. When she doesn’t look past us with her empty eyes, but she sees us with her excited eyes.
She never forgets our names, even with there being a lot of us. She always makes sure that everyone feels loved, just like all of the people she meets. She is always willing to give us a great big hug and allows us to make a difference in her life and she in ours.
But those are usually rare.
They only come when nothing is happening; when she is released from her papers and glowy things. The days come, and we love it.
We love to see what adventure comes next. What is going on in the world. What is going on in her world.
Sing-offs. Sleepovers. School. House. Her imagination comes back and we can see the rust coming off. We pick up where we left off. We start new games.
I have loved to see how she grows over the years and to meet all of my new friends she’s brought in.
I just wish she was able to bring out her imagination and pigtails more often because, based on my friends from across the room, I don’t have much longer for new adventures.