She wiggled on my lap, draping her legs across mine. "I love you."
"I love you too, baby."
The music began as the last of the lights faded. The whirl of the pipes and the thump of the drums surrounded us. On the screen, we watched a dark haired mother try, so very hard, to teach her daughter. And we watched a girl with wild red curls stubbornly insist on her own way.
Elizabeth sank deeper into my arms, her head resting on my chest.
The movie flashed back to a thunderstorm. A small, frightened Merida darted into hiding as the thunder crashed. Her mother pulled her into her lap and smoothed her hair, singing softly.
A bear roared, giant on the screen. Elizabeth buried her face in my neck, her arms clinging. I rubbed her back, smoothed her hair, and told her when it was okay to look again.
The mother and daughter clash, fight, come together. They learn, teach, remember how very much they love one another.
And in the end, the mother bear will always protect her child, even in the face of death. And the child? We hope that they will stand with their parent, strong and brave.
"Did you like your first movie theater movie?" I asked as the screen filled with names.
"I loved it."
"Was it too scary?"
"Not on your lap."
I hugged my little red haired girl closer, kissed her soft little cheek, and smile. "You were very brave."
And I hope that, like the story, my princess will grow strong and brave with love-tempered pride, while I remember she's her own person separate from me.
Which is hard to remember when she's so very much a part of my heart.