by Ashley Weeks Cart

Hi, Mom,

I took Sunny to see the New York City Ballet perform at the ’62 Center this week. It felt so reminiscent of childhood adventures with you to watch the Boston Ballet perform. The “Swan Lake” pas de deux had me in tears. The female ballerina was so delicate and graceful. The perfect swan. I know how much you would have adored the performance.

Another female lead had the most beautiful hands. It reminded me of the way you always commented on Kimmy’s gorgeous hands when she danced. What a small detail, but what an enormous impact. We sat close to the stage so we could really watch the dancers sweat and work – another thing you taught us young. Ballet is both beautiful and athletic, and takes an immense amount of strength and training. It’s a powerful sight to witness up close. To experience that kind of grace and power so intimately.

Although we live in the country, we took the opportunity to put on fancy dresses and don our dress coats. Sunny even carried my rabbit fur muff from when I was little. You taught us that some occasions just call for fancy, and the ballet is most certainly an opportunity to put on one’s finery. I’m endlessly grateful that I live in a small town community with such easy, affordable access to the arts – I recognize now what a gift (and effort/expense) it was for you and dad to prioritize that for us during our childhoods. I want you to know that I am passing along that legacy.

Courtland, envious of Sunny’s trip to the ballet, asked if she could carry her red rabbit fur muff to school the next day. And why the hell not? You don’t need an excuse to be fabulous.

This muff is extra special because it was in the Valentine’s Day gift bag you prepared for Courtland the morning of your sudden death. I understood instantly why you had purchased it for her. Ever committed to fairness and equality, your second grandchild needed her very own special muff to compliment her big sister’s. That muff carries extra weight and meaning given the circumstances. And while you never saw it in use, you’d be happy to know it brightened up an otherwise grey October Friday.

143 Your Ashley