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.