I had a fun moment the other day with my sweet 2-year-old niece, Avery. I was in the middle of changing her diaper (fun, I know) when I noticed that she had Cinderella on her pull-up and I took a moment to quiz my sweet Avery about Cinderella. All I asked was if she knew who Cinderella was, she shook her head "no" and I proceeded to tell her how Cinderella is a princess just like Avery. In addition I took a moment to explain to Avery that being a princess meant that there is the "perfect" prince for her out there (note I said "perfect" prince for her...not that he is perfect, so don't go rantin and ravin on me for saying people are perfect...I know we're not). I told her he would come some day, sweep her off her feet, and live happily ever after, but not to be deceived by appearances or so called "charmers." That the best is yet to come and so worth waiting for. In her what I'm sure was a confused mind, she said in her Avery way..."otay."
I realize that my niece probably thinks I'm crazy and probably had no clue what I was saying (shoot she's only 2, she's got years before she has to worry about her prince), but fairytales and princes and waiting for God's best has all weighed very heavily on my heart lately. I wonder at what point along the way in each of our lives we stop believing that fairytales exist and we stop dreaming big, or even dreaming at all.
I love the movie "Beauty and the Beast" and I can't help but think what an amazing story and life lesson that it teaches children today. Belle (the beauty) was never looking for love, she was always lost in her own precious world...not caring what others thought of her and losing herself in a huge dream world that only seemed to exist in books. At the end of the day she got what she desired and not because she was looking, but because she was living her life and it found her along the way. Belle gave what seemed like an awful situation a chance and it turned into something beautiful and lovely. She found what she wanted through being herself, through loving others right where they are at (although it is tough at times), and living her own adventure.
And what about Cinderella??? She wasn't looking for love either, she was looking to be accepted and treated the same as her step sisters, but instead she endured the cards she was dealt, kept her head up, took a chance and in the midst of running away from love ended up running right into it...she found someone who wasn't willing to miss his chance with having the power of a lost shoe. Or think about Snow White...she made the mistake of trusting a stranger with a yummy looking apple and she found love just by falling into a deep sleep. Ariel (Little Mermaid) was wanting an adventure, wanting to know what another world was like and although she "fell in love" with some guy she saw once...she took a chance and sacrificed all she knew to be with someone who may or may not have wanted to take a chance on her. And Mulan (one of my favorites)...she wasn't even seen as a princess, but to uphold her family name she denied herself, walked into danger claiming to be someone else and ended up saving the day as well as falling in love.
You can't tell me that none of this is real...I know that it's not word for word or action for action from screen to the real world...but take a deeper look at what we could be missing out on. An adventure in a great wide somewhere, more than we could ever imagine. I love that I've been reminded of how much I do believe in fairytales and yes I will continue to teach them to my niece, as well as my little girls (hopefully) someday. There is so much wonder in believing what we cannot see and dreaming big. For me...I'm no longer looking for my "perfect" prince...no, I'm looking for an adventure, and if I fall in love with my beast somewhere along the way...great! But if all I ever get is stories from lands unknown and places I thought I'd never see, then that is enough for me...for I know the bigger I dream and the more I believe in the unexpected the greater the story will be...the greater the adventure!
Originally written: July 21, 2008