A is for Agape
The Princess and Reality
Princesses are everywhere you go these days. I didn’t begin noticing this particular phenomenon until my daughter turned three. Before then we had on occasion called her a little Princess if she happened to be wearing a fancier than usual dress. Or maybe it would come up in one of our storytime outings. But since my son is two years older our house has been overrun with his toys. You know, cars, trains, Legos, that sort of thing.
But something happened the day my daughter turned three. She became obsessed, and I don’t use the word lightly, with all things Princess. If my son said he wanted to be an astronaut when he grew up, then she said she wanted to be an astronaut Princess. If they were playing a game of Pirates out at sea, then she was a Princess aboard the ship. And when I explained to her that girls can be anything they want to be and that wouldn’t she like to be a scientist when she grew up, she was quick to agree, and my heart swelled with pride until she continued, “I will be a scientist and a Princess.”
When discussing this with my friends I found out that I was not alone in this predicament. In fact it was oddly unanimous. In a job where there are more variables per child than hours in a day, and I am referring to parenting here, this is a constant.
For a little while I blamed myself for her behavior. I am the mother here after all and any female tendancies she may have must come from me. But when my daughter stated matter of factly that I could not be a Princess in her game because I only wear black and don’t wear enough dresses, I knew something else was at fault.
So, I began to research. What I found was that there are in fact an overwhelming number of articles and papers written on the subject. I stopped researching…and so this is my take on the matter.
Little girls are meant to be feminine. They are meant to be gentle, graceful, pretty and adored. I am going to get alot of backlash from this post. That’s fine. But if you think about it that’s all little girls are reacting to when they fall in love with their first Princess. They are desiring to emulate her best qualities.
Let’s break it down. Now the classic fairy book Princess must have three things, the shiny dress, the high heeled shoes and the rescuing Prince. The dress is simply pretty, that one is too obvious. Okay, then there’s the shoes. What happens when a woman puts on high heeled shoes? She changes. Her posture becomes straighter, her step is narrower and her gait is slower. In other words, she is graceful. Finally, the Prince. And this is where we mothers often have the greatest concern. That Prince is trying to steal our daughters from us. But that’s only because we are letting them. In our adult minds we have automatically turned the Prince into a boyfriend or husband. When in fact, all our daughters are asking for is a savior. And by that I mean someone who will come to their rescue at a moment’s notice. Let’s let their father’s be the Prince. Let’s let God be their Prince. That’s all they are asking us for, a strong presence in their life that will always be there for them.
So I tried testing this to see if my theory was correct. A few days ago when my daughter mentioned, for the hundredth time that day, that she was a Princess, I responded with “you are a real Princess to God.” And in order to ensure that she understood I had her think about it for a little bit. Then I asked her if she knew why she was God’s Princess and she said yes “because he is King of the World.” Score one for mom. I can’t let it be a one time thing though. This is something she has to hear from me over and over again.
What does this mean for real life, then? It means that I no longer cringe every time my daughter wants a Princess story or a Princess gown or those awful (and this one I will always have a hard time with) plastic heeled shoes. I can’t cringe anymore because to her she really is a Princess. Her God has said so and her dad has shown her.