Your Arms Outstretched For All To See: Part 2

Dear Caroline,

Now we go on to a quick series of my other favorite photos of you.

You with your hair pulled back and your hands on your hips, your head cocked to the left and your smile all-knowing mischief. You’re wearing a plaid dress, red and white, and your stance says – if I translate correctly – I’m the boss here. Who are you kidding? You’re the very definition of an imp come to play pranks.

So it is in this next shot, too – you, somewhat younger, maybe only five, smiling, your fingers overhead interlocked, a classroom behind you. It’s a ballet pose and you’re delighted with yourself, as well you might be.

And here’s you, around the same age, in a shirt with yellow and green horizontal stripes, a turtleneck , and matching yellow hairband, pointing right at the camera. You look serious, no smile this time, as if you’re giving an order (imagine that).

Has no one informed you? the look says. You’re here to do my bidding.

Now we see you with me. We’re at some event with people milling in the background. I’m kneeling next to you and you’ve flung out your arms, your mouth wide open, as if in a giddy delirium.

Those outstretched arms signaling your arrival, your presence, your importance, are by now a signature gesture. Again and again we see you in full flower.

The earliest such shot comes in a classroom at your first school. It’s the kind of photo that makes you realize something special was meant to be.

Your whole class is there in the frame, your teacher and maybe eight other kids. Overhead are tubes of fluorescent light. In the background you can make out a giant ruler against the wall, plus a bulletin board bearing drawings by students. The teacher looks quite happy, most of the kids, too.

But guess who’s front and center, arms outstretched? Guess who’s smack in the middle, wearing a tall, red cardboard crown with her name emblazoned in gold glitter?

That’s right, my dear. It’s you, you being unmistakably and unforgettably you. Once again you’ve outshone everyone around you. You’ve stopped the show. Your face and those outstretched arms deliver your message.

Welcome to my world, folks. Let me entertain you. Let me make you smile.

If ever destiny had a foreshadowing, it comes through loud and clear here.

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