I, like many children of the 80s and 90s, grew up on Disney movies and loved to pretend I was a Disney princess. All manner of pretend somehow went back to a fairy-tale plot. Even today, if you go to a public pool I am sure you’ll see little girls popping up out of the water, flipping their hair back as seen on The Little Mermaid. (Guilty!)
Part of the fun of parenting is getting to relive the fun of childhood all over again. As I watch the movies that I memorized as a child, I remember how I would twirl around in dresses, ‘lose’ my shoe on the stairs, pretend the Persian rug was a magic carpet, and dress to impress my handsome prince in plastic pearls and tiaras. The challenge of balancing fantasy and reality is a constant of humanity; fantasy football, books, television, role-playing games, and air-brushing will testify to the adult desire to escape our reality. Some folks have great difficulty balancing fantasy and reality as adults.
A few years ago the movie Enchanted captured the humor of trying to put a fairy-tale princess into our ‘real world’. One of my favorite scenes is when Gisselle, played by Amy Adams, sets out to clean a filthy New York apartment. With a song she summons live birds, rats, and roaches to help her clean. Of all my fairy-tale fantasies, being able to summon woodland creatures to do a week’s worth of power cleaning in 10 minutes time is on the top of the list.
At about 6:30 am as I was cleaning up breakfast I realized that Disney didn’t have it wrong as much as it had it backward. I looked around a messy house (it was clean when I went to bed!), at my Prince Charming and little heir, down at my blooming belly, and realized I when I married my Handsome Prince and we began our ‘happily ever after’, I became like the princesses I had wanted to be as a child.
Like Cinderella, I spend much of the day cooking, cleaning, washing, mending, scrubbing floors that are instantly dirtied and having a hard time getting out of the house. It seems to take everyone else getting out of the house and an act of magic to get presentable for a formal occasion.
Like Snow White, I am the sole woman of the house taking care of men and ‘little people’. They occasionally bring me jewels and other precious gifts to thank me for cleaning up after them and feeding them every day. Every now and then an older woman I don’t know bursts in while I’m in the middle of something and tries to tell me what to do, what to eat, and how to make all my dreams come true.
Like Ariel, I’ve undergone some fairly significant physical changes for my prince. She shed her fins for legs and learned a new lifestyle. I am 8 months pregnant for the second time- we’ll leave it at that. Just as Ariel’s friends were constantly watching and waiting for the ‘next step’ (the spell breaking kiss) in Ariel’s relationship, it seems people were always asking when I’d be married, have that first kid, second kid, etc. (Babies were mentioned the morning after the wedding, I was asked when I’d have a second when Firstborn was 3 weeks old, and I’m ready to deck the next person who asks if I’ll try for a girl next.)
Like Aurora, a night full of beauty sleep is a pre-prince memory…or at least before my little princes came into the picture.
Like Jasmine, I hope not to be recognized when I go to the market.
Like Mulan, I occasionally don my battle dress and relocate all over the place for the sake of military service.
Like Rapunzel, sometimes it feels like I don’t get out much and I have some days where my hair just won’t cooperate.
Like Belle, my household appliances are starting to talk to me. Now with Smartphones and everything programmed it seems that everything beeps, calls, or literally speaks to me. As soon as I get things cleaned up and in order, “there’s something there that wasn’t there before”. On more than one occasion sudden visitors have arrived and I’ve had them “Be Our Guest” and I have a little experience filling a bachelor’s home with a bit of beauty.
It’s true, life has its magical moments but it isn’t a Disney fairy tale. As I struggle to be the queen of the castle, I think I’d much rather write my own tale. After all, Disney movies end at the wedding and let the ‘happily after ever’ be assumed. I find that the adventure starts there.
There will always be more chores than fancy balls to attend and I may not always like what the mirror has to say, but I am not above wishing that woodland creatures will show up and help me clean when I start singing. In the meantime, don’t laugh at me when I wear a tiara while I scrub the floors.