Last night Grace and I laid together in her new princess tent. We had some books in there and some baby dolls…but we chose just to be together, hand in hand, staring up at the ceiling. Grace insisted on putting on her princess pajamas for the occasion. Because of course, Grace knows she is a princess.
I am envious of Grace. She approaches everyone with this attitude. She assumes everyone will love her, find her charming and that she will always get what she wants. Mostly, she’s right. I don’t know what her dreams and aspirations are, but if I had to guess, I would imagine she will seek out a career that will allow her to always be the center of attention. She will want to be surrounded by people who she can surprise with affection and kindness. She will want to marry someone who is tall like Daddy and who understands the importance of her beauty sleep and can fetter her stubborn nature. They also must be willing to take her dancing.
And of course, she will be a princess. With a castle. And Prince Charming. And probably a pet monkey.
So, when do we stop believing in ourselves?
When do we stop looking for that fairytale?
When I think back to things I wanted when I was 6….9…even 14…where did that girl go? The girl who dreamt boldly. Who drew hearts around boys’ names in her diary, but didn’t lose sleep when the names were scratched out. Who recognized how smart she was and knew exactly what she deserved. Who planned out the path her life would take and didn’t imagine any deviation would be possible.
Life gets in the way of the best laid plans. Dreaming becomes scary instead of liberating. Confidence translates to cockiness and those boys? They grow up. They make mistakes. They surprise you.
We have little control over the shape our fairy tale takes. But we have complete control over how we react to these circumstances. We can make the conscious choice to keep dreaming, even if it’s petrifying. We can take risks, appreciate our strengths and find ways to compensate for our weaknesses. We can believe that we deserve it all.
As for Grace? I will revel in her schoolyard crushes. I will support her in her early career goals (mine was to be a zoologist or the author of romantic novels set in Victorian England...those are close to reality, right?) and simply smile when she changes her mind again.
I will be there to remind her, every step of the way, that dreaming is what challenges us to be better. That comfortable isn’t always the same as safe. That being smart is way more important than being beautiful (but she’s got that going for her too). That the easiest choice is almost never the most fulfilling one. That fear often inspires greatness. That sometimes, you’ve got to breathe and just believe.
If you need me...
I'll be the girl leading by example.