Marissa's Story

Marissa loved to watch movies.  Even though she was only nine, sometimes her mom let her watch PG-13 films because Marissa so desperately wanted to get lost in a good story.  Ever since her father left a few years ago, the 4th grader constantly immersed herself with watching movies to escape the pain she felt at being abandoned by her dad.  Lately, Marissa began thinking about a career as an actress and the excitement was reflected in her mood.  Her mother noticed that she smiled more often.  Marissa was also getting better grades in school, even scoring an A on her last spelling test.

One rainy Thursday, Marissa came blasting in through the front door completely soaked but breathless with excitement.

“Mom!” she yelled.  “Guess what?”

Her mother came running down the stairs of their modest two bedroom home, worried because her daughter was dripping wet, but intrigued because Marissa’s tone sounded very happy.

“What, sweetheart?”

“Our class is going to see a play.  A REAL live play!  Oh mom, I’m going to get to see real actors and actresses onstage and in-person.  This is the best day of my life!”  Marissa twirled around, spraying water all over the room and all over the family cat that hissed and ran under the couch.

“Oh, Maris...that’s…” her mother stopped, not wanting to rain on her daughter’s parade (although the rain part was already covered, it seemed).  Field trips cost money.  She barely had enough to pay the electric bill next week.  How was she going to pay for a ticket to a play?  Marissa’s mother frantically tried to think of a way not to crush her daughter’s dream of seeing real-live actors and actresses.  

“Well, let me see the paperwork while you dry off.  Go upstairs and get a towel.”  Marissa flung her backpack on the table with a “Yippee!” and bounded up the stairs into the bathroom.

Sighing, Marissa’s mother unzipped the wet bag and found her daughter’s school folder.  In it was the permission slip and accompanying letter, which she read with a bit of dread while looking for the dollar sign.  Please don’t let it be more than $5.00, she silently prayed.  But as she read, no amount was listed.  Instead, she put her hand over her mouth and tears filled her eyes as she read:

The Riverside Foundation for the Performing Arts has generously sponsored our whole class to attend The Riverside Center’s next Children’s Theatre Production of…”

No cost?  She didn’t have to pay anything for Marissa to have one of her dreams come true?  

This exciting day will also include a hot lunch for all students!  Please sign the enclosed field trip form…

Marissa stood next to her mother, towel-drying her hair.  

“Mom, what’s wrong?  Are you crying?”

“No, honey,” said her mother as she cleared her throat and tried to get her composure back.  “This sounds wonderful!  Let me get a pen to sign the permission slip.”

“I can’t believe I’m going to get to see a real play!” squealed Marissa as she hugged her mother.  They both laughed as Marissa’s mom flopped the towel over her daughter’s head.  

“Me, neither, honey.”  She smiled knowing that her daughter was happy.