The mom, Helen is remembering back to when her now, 20 something daughter, was little.
" It brought back to Helen one of her favorite memories of Tessa as a little girl. The summer her daughter turned four, she played exclusively with boys, although she did, in a nod toward femininity, wear her pink tutu every single day.
One afternoon that summer, she came banging in the front door, a line of three little boys behind her. Beneath her tutu she wore blue jeans and on of Dan's T-shirts. Naturally, it swam on her, but Tessa loved wearing her father's T-shirts because, as she once told Helen, they left room for things. "What things?" Helen asked, and Tessa whispered, "You can't see them."
On that day Tessa's feet were bare and muddy, and strands of hair, escaped from the ponytail she'd insisted on making herself, hung in her face. She carried a long stick under her arm and used it to point to a blueberry pie Helen had make earlier that morning and now was cooling on top of the stove. "That's what we're having for dinner," she announced, and the boys stared wordlessly, admiringly, really Helen thought.
Then Tessa slapped the stick against her thigh as though she were General Patton with his riding crop and said,"Let's go!" and they all filed back outside. Immediately afterward, Helen heard Tessa yell, "Mom! Mom! Hey, Mom!" When Helen came to the door, she said, "Do you want to play with us?" Helen smiled and declined, even though she wanted nothing more than to abandon her housework and go outside with that group of free little beings. She regrets to this day the fact that she didn't do it.