That was Lily Baker today - the mouse in "The Night Before Christmas" at her school's Christmas program.
The 4-year-old class performs this each year at Christmas. She was pumped when she first learned she was the mouse. Then she realized something. My girly-girl who loves nothing more than wearing skirts and pretty shoes learned her attire. Gray sweat pants and a hooded sweatshirt with mouse ears.
It was all over.
"Mom, I wish I was one of the Sugar Plum ballerinas!" she told me last week. "They get to wear tutus and dance around!"
I thought fast.
"But Lily Baker, you are the first person on stage! The mouse comes first!"
She wasn't even slightly impressed.
"And, there are three ballerinas but only ONE mouse!"
"Mom," she answered. "There's also only one Santa, one Rudolph and one Frosty."
She had a point there.
"Oh!" I shouted out with my ace in the hole. "You get to wear face paint!!"
And with that, she was finally on board.
So as her lines were delivered by the narrator, she tiptoed across stage. And I think she was the cutest mouse I've ever seen.
I also couldn't help thinking something else.
This is it.
You see, my children started at this preschool when Ann Catherine was just 14 months old. They went to daycare there because I worked full-time.
That means I have sat through this program every year for the past five years. I can sing the songs, recite the lines, and do the hand motions. I have lined up thirty minutes early to get a good seat. I have snapped pictures while Chris recorded video. I have giggled over children singing off-key and laughed at shouts of "Hey, Mommy!" coming from the stage in the middle of a song.
It has been as much a part of my Christmas holiday as stressing over gifts and making last-minute runs to Target.
And now it's over.
We leave this place when Lily Baker graduates in May and that makes me so sad. I know that each chapter brings exciting changes and moving on is a part of life.
But there's something about preschool that is happy. And warm. And comfortable. And safe.
There's something about watching four-year-olds on stage skip over an entire verse of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" without even realizing it. There's something about watching children dressed as Santa, Frosty, angels and reindeer. There's something about watching your "tends to be shy" baby girl tip toe on stage - quiet as a mouse - and then belt out "Jingle Bells" without a care in the world.
And I'm going to miss that.