For three months we have been working on moving out of my home. The home where we lived for eleven years, because life has presented a new adventure – NYC!
In the midst of the move I found a collection of classic fairytales. The books were given to my daughter Kennedy as a gift when she was born. The packaging for the books were so delicate, pink and shining with glitter. For 10 years I kept these books because I wanted Kennedy to know of classic fairytales but I paused as I realized that I never read any of them to her. Why didn’t I read any of these fairy tales? The fairytales of my childhood, filled with enchanted castles, handsome princes and happy endings! Why didn’t I fill her mind with happiness, adventure and the notion that in the end everything will work out perfectly.
Why Didn’t I read the Fairytales?
Hmmm, I started to wonder if these same classic fairytales distorted my views on love, life and what is “right”. Could it be that these fairytales subliminally contributed to my value structure on love and the perfect life? Ouch! Maybe it has.
Some of you may think I am going too far…but am I? What are we teaching our daughters when they are looking for the prince on the “white horse” that never comes? The prince never lets the princess down and he always shows up on time. Well in real life, there are traffic lights, appointments and flat tires. The prince doesn’t always make it on time.
I do believe in love, I do believe in the perfect mate but I also believe that in love and in the perfect mate, there are not so perfect things; and I know and understand that it’s ok.
I was watching a show on television and a couple had two children. The couple were unmarried and now, after ten years, the boyfriend was looking to propose. For the proposal, he approached her with their two children and their dog handed his girlfriend a ring. She smiled and looked at her boyfriend and said “so we really are going to do this?”. He said “yes we are”. She smiled and they embraced with joy.
My heart sank! What kind of proposal was that? There were no bells and whistles, there were no ballons, flowers, dressy clothes and he didn’t even get down on one knee! He actually never even asked her to marry him. I was confused as to why she was so happy. As a viewer, I was very upset! I wondered why his proposal bothered me so much? My belief of the “right” proposal or how it “should” be has been impacted by a value system and my fundamental belief in fairytales.
I know first hand that life isn’t a fairytale but I still expect the fairytale. I will read the fairytales to Kennedy, but only for her to understand them as a point of reference during discussions with her peers.
How do we balance real life and fairytales? How do we teach our daughters that sometimes things do not work out like we plan, and that it’s ok and we move forward? What about the notion that our “true love” can find someone else and it doesn’t mean our lives are over?
Four things Every Mother should Share with Their Daughter
I am not a bitter woman, and I know that there is true love. I also know that some people find the right match and live out their fairytales; but for girls who don’t…they need to know:
- Love does exist… but so does disappointment.
- They need to know that they are princesses and their prince does await them…but he does have faults.
- That every relationship takes work.
- They should always believe in themselves and in Love.