Little Gracee Nelson was having a hard enough time coping with the long separation from her father when he left to work as a contractor in Afghanistan.
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But the grief was compounded when her school in El Paso, Texas, announced it would be holding a father-daughter dance in April.
Her father, Christopher, would still be thousands of miles away. And finding another male family member to take his place was unrealistic, since their entire extended family lives at least 10 hours away, explained Gracee’s mother, Lanya.
“Once I realized how much the dance meant to her, I told my husband and he wanted to make sure she’d still be able to go,”Lanya said.
In fact, the desperate mom was “so close to getting a $400 plane ticket for her uncle”to attend because she didn’t want her daughter to miss out on the special dance. But she and Christopher instead came up with a delightful solution that was entirely apropos to the theme of the dance, “Beauty and the Beast.â€
“I’m like, ‘What if I contact the school and ask them if we can hire a character to take her?’ They thought it was such a wonderful idea,”Lanya recalled.
So Lanya contacted a local event company, Magical Moments, to help her pull off a little magic act of her own.
When Gracee and The Beast hit the dance floor that night, the 5-year-old was treated to a memorable evening filled with twists, twirls, lifts and dips. (As the resident celebrity, of course, the Beast did dance with the other children and even posed for photos!)
Though her husband was devastated to have missed this father-daughter dance, he and Gracee did have a chat through FaceTime while the dance was still in progress, allowing him to see his little girl dressed up as the “Belle of the ball.â€
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