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  • Cheri Newell

NEVER GONNA WASH

Did you know there's a new lion in the pride?


"How would you like to go to a play and see The Lion King?" I asked my four-year-old granddaughter.

"Yes, please! Yes, please!" Sophie jumped up and down clapping her hands. She had seen the movie over and over.

"Do we get to dress up?" Sophie asked.

"In fancy clothes," I replied.

I decided to spring for the most expensive tickets on the aisle, so we could see the characters entering the theater during the production and cascading by, hoping Sophie could make eye contact with her beloved Simba.

Sophie was beside herself as she picked out her prettiest dress to wear. She was an angel for the preceding weeks before our theater date. Sophie did everything her mother told her to do in double time.

When the tickets arrived, I opened the envelope and each ticket had written across the top in bold caps... NO CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 5 ALLOWED!

What? Sophie was only four... and a petite four at that. I paid for those tickets and we were darn well going to the theater because I promised.

When the day arrived, we dressed in our pretty dresses and made our way to the theater. En route, Sophie hummed and chatted excitedly.

"Sophie, honey," I said. "If anyone asks how old you are, say that you are five. Okay?"

"Why, Nana?"

"Because you're not supposed to be in the theater under five... and you will be turning five later this year... so it's okay to say it just this once. You won't disturb anyone there. Right?"

"No, Nana. I'm a big girl."

"I don't think anyone will ask, but if they do, just say you're five and you go to the theater a lot."

"Okay, Nana."

We entered the theater and received our Playbill.

"I am five years old and a seasoned theater goer," Sophie blurted out.

"Really?" The usher looked at Sophie, then back to me; the nearby patrons were laughing it up.

I hoped my 'extra dry' deodorant was working. My face flushed and I smiled sweetly, getting ready to do battle, but we were promptly ushered to our seats. I dabbed the sweat from my brow and squeezed Sophie's hand as the music started and the characters brushed past us. Sophie's mouth and eyes were gaping!

I thought she would fall asleep at some point as the tickets were not matinee, but Sophie sat enthralled through the entire production, which made our escapade worth every sweaty moment.

The next day I received a phone call from my daughter-in-law.

"Sophie went to a birthday party and came home with her face painted. She won't let me wash it off."

"Not gonna wash it off, Daddy! I'm a lion!" Sophie roared.

I heard my son talking in the background to a roaring lioness. I chuckled, listening to the banter, knowing it was my fault. I was sorry for the squabbling my son and daughter-in-law had to endure. But I was happy for my nice cup of tea at home... alone.

This story and photo of Sophie were sent in by Linda Brown, Palos Verdes, CA.


Children are amazing creatures... navigating the jungle of life and making us laugh at their intensity in each moment. They slow down time for adults because they are so present. Each fleeting second is a miracle in itself, filled with wonder and whimsy. I find myself constantly asking... THE KID DID WHAT?


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