It’s a little game we play, more of a way of life these days.

“Mama, when I grow up I want to have grown out bangs.”

“Mama, when I grow up I wanna be a teacher.”

The first was from Briar, the second from Avery. They are each progressing and questing at such a pace that their desires for the future change with each new experience. Last weekend we went to the wedding of a cousin. She was everything little girls would hope for in a bride; radiant, twinkly, delighted to kneel and talk to little girls, and resplendent in layers of beaded satin.

The ceremony was something that awed each of the girls, such pomp and circumstance with the bride’s brothers in kilts, the bridesmaids in floor length blue gowns and the reception chock full of dancing, glass clinking and princes and princesses. The excitement of it all was reignited today after Ave’s birthday party as Glens Falls High School students headed to prom poured out of a white stretch limo.

The girls ran down the street to watch the spectacle of boys with mohawks in tuxedos standing alongside girls in every type of ball gown imaginable, from a classic pink cotton candy layered tulle number to a blue leopard print cut-out number. I watched, my heart breaking a little as I imagined how soon I’d be standing on the other side of the sidewalk and envying the rock star-like allure the young dates had for the girls.

“Mama, what will I do in high school?” Briar asked as I tucked her in.

“Well, you’ll take classes and learn about history and art, maybe play sports or act in plays.” I mused aloud.

“And dances? Will I go to dances?” She asked hopefully.

“Of course you will. If you do well in school.” I felt myself bristle at the joy dampering warning, but it didn’t faze phase her.

“Mama, can you tell me where the princes are?” Briar asked at bedtime as I rocked Finley in my arms.

“The princes?” I asked a little surprised.

“Yes. I mean, where did Erin meet her prince?” She pressed.

“I think she met him at work, or maybe at school,” I said.

“Well, how do you find your prince? Where does it happen?” she was sitting up, ready for the words that might light the way to where her prince was waiting.

“It’s happens in different ways and in different places for everyone.” I hedge sometimes, partly because I don’t want the girls to think I place a huge amount of importance on whether or not they get married, partly because I don’t want to set up some scenario that they may take as law.

“Mom?” This time it was Ave.

“Yes, sweetie?”

“Mom, when I grow up I wanna be a wedding girl, ok?” She asked and declared in the way only a three year old can.

“Ok, you can be a wedding girl if that’s what you want.”

“And mom?” She was looking up at me, her dark blue eyes very serious and determined.

“Yes, honey?”

“Mom, I’m going to be a wedding girl,” smiling and with a nod, “and I want dad to be my wedding guy.”