Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time, I had hoped they wouldn't be swallowed by the Disney princess franchise.  Was I concerned that if my child wore an Ariel costume to the grocery store, people would think I'd dressed her that way as an expression of my personal taste?  (Before kids, I banked heavily on that tabula rasa crap theory--not realizing they'd arrive complete with their own ideas, of which tulle, glitter, magic, pink and princesses are currently paramount.) 

Now, of course, the sparkles shed by countless Belle, Ariel and Aurora costumes are permanently embedded in my car rugs and sofa cushions.   They've sung, they've danced, they've twirled--they've believed in the magic, and they've spread some of their own.  I defy you to not smile at an earnest little girl in a polyester princess dress sitting in a grocery cart.  We took them to Disney World last month--and my last, lingering, curmudgeonly reservations fell away as the girls, completely starstruck, shyly hugged the "real" princesses as the fireworks exploded.  I came home and had to admit we'd had a great, even magical, time.  The Mouse always wins. 

This past weekend, we went to Disney on Ice with three other cousins. I found the magic considerably thinner, but they were transported--mostly.  Buzzy studied the skaters like an appraiser at auction.  "Mommy.  I think that wasn't the real Ariel because I saw she had feet in ice skates.  I think the other ones were real, though."  On our way dinner after the show, they followed their big, first-grade cousin fearlessly, a laughing pack of little girls and one boy running down the sidewalk, away from their slowpoke collection of parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles.  I thought of Buzzy studying a mermaid's skates, putting it all together, all too soon.  And I realized, to my chagrin, that I didn't want these princess days to end after all.     


  1. Love this, Elizabeth. Reminds me of Michael Chabon's excellent essay on Legos in Manhood for Amateurs, a book I highly recommend for people of all genders.

  2. Will definitely check it out--thanks, EEK. If he can capture the feeling of stepping on one of those suckers with bare feet in your kids's room in the middle of the night, he deserves a Pulitzer.


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