Early last Saturday morning, Christina-Taylor Green crawled into her parents' bed and snuggled up to her mother - an uncharacteristic move for the independent 9-year-old.
Her dad, John Green, initially thought Christina-Taylor should go back to her own bed. But her mom, Roxanna, enjoyed the return to childhood. Already, Christina-Taylor was leaving behind some of her little-girl tastes. Instead of Hannah Montana, she now loved Beyoncé and Rihanna. Her favorite song was "Just the Way You Are," by Bruno Mars.
She awoke, snuggled next to her mother, at about 7:30 a.m. The sun was already up. Christina-Taylor had breakfast in her long, pink T-shirt nightgown. She ate an English muffin and part of a bacon-and-cheese omelet her dad had made.
The third-grader was excited for her "girls day" with friend and neighbor Susan Hileman. Though Hileman is in her 50s, the two shared a close bond - "generationally apart, but very much birds of a feather," Hileman's husband, Bill, said.
Susan Hileman had phoned the previous evening to ask Roxanna, 11-year-old Dallas and his sister Christina-Taylor to join her Saturday morning at U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' "Congress on Your Corner" event at the nearby Safeway.
Roxanna was taking Dallas to karate, but Christina-Taylor was eager to meet the congresswoman. She'd just been elected to her student council at Mesa Verde Elementary School.
The invitation from Hileman included lunch out and shopping, but Christina-Taylor was just as excited to see government in action - a passion, too, of her late grandmother.
The little girl deeply admired her grandmother, Tucson resident Yolanda Segalini, who campaigned and helped raise money for Barack Obama's 2008 campaign. Segalini, who died unexpectedly in 2009, spoke often about how everyone should have a voice. She had instilled in her granddaughter a desire to help others.
Roxanna thought of her mother last Saturday morning as Christina-Taylor chose an outfit of dark skinny jeans, tennis shoes and a tropical-scene T-shirt with the phrase, "Wish You Were Here." "Congress on Your Corner" was just the kind of event Yolanda would have enjoyed.
It was Christina-Taylor's kind of outing, too. Her daughter would have no trouble talking to Giffords, Roxanna knew.
An assertive and extroverted child, Christina-Taylor had always stood out. She'd already been featured in the book "Faces of Hope," along with other babies born on Sept. 11, 2001. She was the only girl on her baseball team. She was a leader.
The little girl's hyphenated first name comes from two family names. Taylor also is a nod to iconic actress Elizabeth Taylor. From the first time Roxanna saw her daughter, she knew she would be a star.
Hileman arrived at the Green's house at about 9:45 a.m., and Roxanna walked Christina-Taylor to the car, checking to make sure she had her seat belt on. And then she spoke what turned out to be the last words she would say to her brown-eyed daughter.
"I love you. Have fun."
When Christina-Taylor and Hileman arrived at the Safeway on the corner of West Ina and North Oracle roads at about 10 a.m., there was a line to see Giffords. They were standing in it, holding hands, when the popping sounds started.
Shortly after 11 a.m., Bill Hileman phoned Roxanna at home and told her he'd received a call saying his wife and Christina-Taylor were at University Medical Center, but he didn't know why.
Roxanna, thinking it was a car accident, rushed her son Dallas out the door and they drove to UMC to find the emergency department blocked off
There had been a shooting. Her only daughter had been hit in the chest.
"And that was it," Roxanna said.
Contact Stephanie Innes at 573-4134 or firstname.lastname@example.org