Where, O Where Did Our Little Girl Go?


This picture backstage doesn’t do her justice.

Last night S.Hooligan performed in her first middle school band concert. She took up the flute this year, not that any of us knows how she plays. Possibly she’s never put the flute to her lips at home. Diamondqueen swears S. just mimed playing the flute in the concert, although S. insists she was tootling along with the rest.

We weren’t sure S.Hooligan would make the concert. She’s developed the habit of staying home sick from school when there’s something she doesn’t want to do. However, Saturday night she and Diamondqueen went on a shopping trip, and S. picked herself out a new dress for the concert. We hoped that would ensure her appearance with the band.

When we walked into the Hooligan household last night, I asked Diamondqueen, “Is she mean as a snake?” Meaning I wondered if her nerves were on edge, making her typically vicious. Diamondqueen looked surprised and said, “No, she’s not.”

Soon S. swept into the room, and it was an eye-popping entrance. She looked dazzling in the black dress she’d picked out for herself. It was belted, which enhanced her beyond-eleven-year-old figure, and obviously Diamondqueen had lent her string of pearls for the occasion. S. also wore silver slippers and had actually fixed her hair off her face. She was gorgeous.

When she filed into the auditorium with her fellow flautists, S. was considerably taller than the other girls around her, but that’s not what made her stand out. She has a natural grace and aura of sophistication that makes her look much older than eleven. I often wonder if she really understands how pretty she is.

And I couldn’t help thinking, What the hell happened to that little girl we used to know? We don’t see much of S. these days. As I mentioned in this post, she doesn’t go out with us any longer, often doesn’t show up for dinner on Sundays at Grandma’s. The child seems to have vanished as if the faeries made off with her.

In her place is this attractive young woman who, I bet, is a heartbreaker. If only she’d talk to us as much as she did to her neighbor flautist the other night as they waited for the concert to begin.

NOTE: This holiday video shows the cheerful, accessible (also unbelievably younger) S.Hooligan seven years ago. When I filmed this video, I had intended to make a thank-you greeting for a distant cousin in Texas who had sent the Hooligans Christmas ornaments as gifts. The Hooligans were so wild and unintelligible I never did produce the video and send it. I recently uncovered it in a photo file, much to my surprise and delight.

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