Pink goblets, Princesses and beautiful ringlets: A time to remember

There aren’t many occasions where you find yourself spending the evening with a plastic goblet in your pocket — and your pocket is in the slacks of the suit you’re wearing. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
The plastic goblet was grabbed early in the evening of my daughter’s Princess Ball, an annual event at the wonderful (seriously) school she attends. There was a 3-level pink lemonade fountain, a couple of dozen goblets, and plastic cups covering the rest of the table.
I’m sure a substantial majority of the goblets finished the evening on the way to the recycling center. But my daughter thought the goblet was something that should be kept and cherished as a reminder of that special night.
There was nowhere to put it down that night amid the tables of cookies, cupcakes, candy, snacks and other goodies, and certainly no place to put it in the darkened gym with DJ, lights and music. Besides, it still was early in the evening.
You know, I really thought about starting this column with the phrase, “Is that a goblet in your pocket, or are you just … ” but I couldn’t come up with a clever finish, and, after all, this is a family page.
The Princess Ball. It was another example of patience and time. I’ve tried to help her realize that something that seemed so far away it never would come does actually creep its way into the present.
There was her birthday. Christmas. Pizza bingo. The Princess Ball.
Time passes so slowly when you’re 6 years old. It takes FOREVER for the day of a special event to actually arrive. It’s your birthday today — now, when’s your next birthday? There aren’t enough pages on the calendar to track that day and circle it.
I’ve always thought of it as my theory of time relativity. When you are 6 years old, a year represents 17% of your lifetime, your time spent here.
When you’re 55, a year represents less than 2% of your lifetime, a smaller pebble in the basket where you keep your years and your memories. Birthdays arrive much more quickly. Christmas, a day that used to drag you slowly through November and the bulk of December, tumbles off the calendar as Labor Day quickly slams into December 24.
I suppose why we need to cherish moments in time like the Princess Ball. I’m pretty sure my memory of that evening will claim a significant spot, one that runs deeper than the Princess herself’s memories.
We shared the excitement of crossing off the days on the calendar. The plans, for what to wear and how to present herself.
My daughter loves it when her hair is braided, then unleashed the next day. Rich, wavy curls. “Isn’t my hair curly?” Slowly, over the course of the day, it returns to its natural condition.
The most important acquisition during the run-up to the Ball? A curling iron, of course. The patience required to remain still as her mother created the curls was almost more than she could bear. She needed to see herself, to admire her Princess-like appearance.
In one of those strange quirks of fate, a person who was known for her mop-top ringlets passed away during this time. Shirley Temple always was welcome in our household: We have a collection of 6 short films that still made us laugh when we watched them again the following week.
But those cute curls don’t last for long, whether they’re (wo)man-made or natural. Mop-tops grow up and grow into other roles and other lives.
Shirley Temple Black knew when it was time to step into her next role, one that took her away from Hollywood and ringlets.
What about that pink plastic pocket liner?
The goblet is still on the kitchen table. But now it’s served a purpose my daughter neither intended nor I expected. That goblet silently overflows with memories, Princess Balls and little girls with curly hair.

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