After brushing off her filthy boots with an even filthier boot brush left outside for that one purpose, Freida stepped into the mudroom and kicked them off. After hanging up her coat, she slid back into the kitchen, deftly placing the basket gently onto the table mid-slide.
“Perhaps you should become a ballerina, Freida,” her father said, smiling behind the coffee cup stalled between his lips and the table.
She frowned. “Oh, Papa! Don’t make fun. You know we don’t have any teachers in the village…even if I did want to learn.” Freida also knew her parents did not have money for such luxuries as private lessons for anything, and certainly not for something like ballet. But even as she said it, she felt an ache inside.
“Little One,” her father said, smiling —still calling her thisat her age—as he put down his cup. He got up, walked over to his daughter, and placed his large, gnarled hands on her shoulders. Looking her square in the face, he continued, “I wasn’t kidding or making fun. Your mother and I have eyes in our heads. And we use them, too! We see the joy and wonder that fills your pretty face whenever you dance. And you know that our little farm doesn’t provide for much more than just what we need, with a wee extra, once in a while. However,” he said, gently squeezing her shoulders with his knobby fingers, “I always want you to dream your dreams. Do not let them go! You may not see all of them fulfilled, it is true. Those times can be difficult. But, my darling, you are certain to not ever reach a dream you abandon.”
Just over her father’s left shoulder, Freida saw her mother dabbing a kerchief to her eyes. She must have heard the whole thing.
“OK, Papa,” replied Freida, fiercely hugging her father.
He smiled and patted her head. “Ready for those pancakes now?”
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