Your Arms Outstretched for All to See

Dear Caroline,

That’s you in the photo again, you being unmistakably and unforgettably you.

You’re wearing a white dress, almost a gown, plus a hint of a tiara. You’re decked out like a princess, or maybe a bride, or a fairy godmother. Whatever the case, you look literally divine, an angel on earth.

The dress itself is pretty, of course, with a cinched waist and glovelike sleeves and a scooped neck and a flaring, glittering crinoline skirt. But the dress is nothing without you in it, just an empty costume. It’s you who embody the intent behind it.

You truly look, in this photo, like a princess or a queen or a fairy godmother. You’re smiling the most darling smile, your head tilted slightly to the left, an accent of a gesture meant to convey – and convey it does – adorableness taken to the nth degree.

But check out your arms. Here your innate sense of the theatrical is abundantly on exhibit. You’re holding your arms out to your sides, your palms up, almost as if you’re about to curtsy.

The pose says, Behold me, mortals. Witness the glory that is me.

You know exactly how cute you look. Those outstretched arms say it all. I’m here and here I plan to stay, so get used to it. As always, you’ve taken command of the stage.

Now we shift moods. In the next photo, you’re the private Caroline. You’re kneeling on the floor, your hands laying a strip of text on a board for some science project.

Again, you might be – what? seven years old? You’re bent forward over the board, your hair dangling over your face, as you arrange the text just so with both hands. You seem altogether unaware of the camera.

And that’s because you’re altogether absorbed in this particular school activity. You are a profile in focus, singleminded in pursuit of perfection. It is a characteristic we will come to see again and again as you train to be a singer.

P.S. – Part 2 will appear tomorrow.

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