It was probably a little over 7 years ago, as my daughter was approaching her third birthday.
She had -- as two year olds are apt to do -- climbed into our bed.
Right in the middle of the night, still asleep, she started talking.
She sat straight up -- obviously emerged in a dream.
"Where are they?" she said.
It certainly got the attention of my wife and me, being the first time we'd actually heard McKensie verbalizing in her sleep... dreaming out loud.
We hoped it wasn't a scary nightmare.
"Shhhhh," I whispered to her, "What's wrong sweetie?"
"I can't get back to them, where are they?" she said, "I can't find them."
"They're not there."
"You can't find who?" I asked.
"The garden fairies" she said, "I was playing with the garden fairies."
We had no way of knowing exactly what enchanting scenario might be playing out in our little girl's dream, but it was comforting to know she was imagining herself in the company of garden fairies, rather than some scary monsters.
"Go back to sleep" I told her, "I'm sure you'll find the garden fairies again."
She put her head on the pillow, seemingly reassured and happy, and slept soundly, dreaming -- I suppose -- of being among dancing garden fairies and other delightful things.
I'd not thought about that dream incident until just the other day when my wife -- who remembers everything -- reminded me of it.
Here's what brought it up.
This past weekend ended this year's run of Nashville Ballet's all-new, delightful "Nutcracker" at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center.
The dancers were backed by flawless orchestration from the Nashville Symphony, and the production earned rave reviews from near and far.
It was done in a new way this year, with a uniquely Tennessee flair, and featured new settings, new interpretations and even some new characters.
Guess what new characters were added?
And guess who performed as one of the inaugural garden fairies?
That's right.... it was McKensie's third time to appear with Nashville Ballet in Nutcracker.... but this time, as a garden fairy.