The question caught me by surprise. She never asked before.
Shrugging, I pulled the huge box that holds my wedding gown out from the bottom of Mark's closet. The box is crushed a bit at the top. I wondered if the dress inside was still in decent condition.
Carefully prying the lid off of it and gingerly removing the acid-free paper from the top, I turned the box toward her.
"Wow," she sighed, catching her breath. "It's beautiful."
She crouched down to get a closer look.
"You can't touch it," I told her.
"Well, you might have dirt or oils on your fingers that could stain it and someday maybe you or your sister will want to wear it for your own wedding, so I want to keep it in good shape."
She sat gazing at it for a few seconds.
"It has glitter," she remarked, referring to the beads on the bodice.
I studied the gown with her - remembering snippets of that wonderful day nearly 10 years ago and trying to wrap my head around the idea of either of my daughters someday being big enough to wear it, never mind old enough to marry.
What will they be like? I mused. I hope they are happy and free and loved and safe. I hope they are independent and strong and kind and wise and fulfilled.
She stood suddenly and hugged me hard around the neck. "I love you, Mommy. Thank you for showing that to me. Someday when I'm big I will wear it."
I don't know if either will ever want to wear it. It will be their choice. But I'm happy to save it for them. Just in case.
I carefully replaced the paper and the lid and returned the box to its spot in the closet where until yesterday it was nothing more but an old dress with some beautiful memories woven into its satin and lace. Now it is something more: Promises, hopes, wishes and dreams that I hold for my daughters - expectations made on borrowed time.
Topped off with a little glitter for good measure.