You are listening toTHE DANCE by Garth Brooks




I was undecided as to the theme for my baby girl's third birthday party. We had recently moved into a much larger home and anxiously anticipated throwing her a birthday bash in our "New House" (as Marissa referred). Marissa was now old enough to "decide" the theme. It was a toss up between "Under the Sea" (Little Mermaid) or Barney. I sort of was leaning towards the Mermaid for my darling girl, but wanted to have the magic of a "character" appearance for this most precious occasion. I phoned one of the local party entertainment companies and asked if we could come and see the two different costumes. Frank was not too enthusiastic about having to drive the 40 minutes to "see" Barney and the Mermaid...he knew what they looked like. I had heard some horror stories from other parents and did not want a repeat. I wanted to know what I was paying for. We entered the costume room and there was Mr. Barney, perched from the ceiling in all his majestic glory! Marissa was no less than awe struck. The decision was clear. Barney it would be! I will always remember that twinkle in her eye, jaw dropping, amazed look on my angels face.

The morning of her party, Sunday, February 15th, the weather was trecherous. The sky was black and threatening. We were having hurricane force winds. Ugh! This couldn't be happening. We decorated and prayed that the sky would not fall until after the party.

The guests began arriving and we were pleasantly surprised at the turn out of party goers. Everyone ate and enjoyed each other's company. As we anxiously awaited Barney's arrival, the sky did indeed open. Inside our home laughter and play filled every room but outside brewed the storm of storms. Okay, now Barney should have been here, don't tell me he won't make it! 15 minutes, no Barney...30 minutes, now I was nervous...50 minutes, oh, thank goodness! Barney arrived, slightly damp and shaken from the storm but he was here. (Well the lady who dressed as Barney, anyway.) We escorted this special guest into a quiet bedroom for her transformation.

The Music rang out...a nervous hush replaced the hum of the room. "Barney is a dinosaur..." Marissa was Ecstatic!!!! Barney, the "real" Barney, had come to "her new house!" The initial reservations of this realization soon gave way to an abounding JOY!!! Marissa just KNEW that Barney was here for "HER" birthday! What followed was nothing short of MAGIC! I, myself, got into the act. We danced and sang. There were games, magic tricks, balloon creations, and face painting. What a Fantastic affair!!! The joy that filled my home that afternoon was overwhelming! My Marissa was so very Happy!!! She was on fire with JOY!!! She appeared as though she would burst if she were any more joyful! We had made the right choice for the theme, no doubt!

The Barney "Happy Birthday" banner and Barney birthday flags still hang on the playroom walls. Marissa did not want me to take them down. Aw, what the heck, it is her playroom...she got such pleasure from having this momento, so what if it stayed there until her next birthday. If only I had known, oh dear Jesus! There would be no more birthdays!!!

Marissa was so very grateful for her party, just as she was always grateful for the most insignificant gift or treat. She often reminised of when "Barney came to My New House for My Birt-day!" About one week after her party, Marissa received a gift from Barney himself. Frank and I had ordered her a t-shirt from the offer included in her latest favorite Barney tape, "Camp WannRunAround". Again, that sparkle of childlike magic, that all believing innocence shown in her big blue eyes. We had made yet another memory!


Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday Dear Marissa
Happy Birthday to you!


Blow hard Marissa
and make a wish!

Marissa3cutcake.jpgHelp me make another wish, Mommy!


This is sooo cool!


Mommy, you make
my heart smile!


I know you are
the REAL Barney!

Marissa3MattBarney.jpgWe are family!