Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Filled Under:

Why I Struggle With Disney Princesses (Part II)

Follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Christmas 2013 was spent in our new house. Under the tree were many gifts from Santa and our family. Tristan received the new Skylanders video game, Mel received a fangled new toothbrush, I received some new slacks for work, and Norah received a new Disney Princess play dress. The dress was from a new princess that is part of a weekly program on the Disney Channel that I didn’t even know about. The dress was purple, and it came with a talking magical amulet that said, “Do something royal everyday.”
She was ecstatic, jumping up and down, her face in the sweetest little grin. She received a lot of other present that day (a new baby doll, Dora the Explorer microphone, Play Doh kitchen set…) but the Amulet and dress were by far her favorite. 

I later found out that this is the princess show Norah now loves

She still had a few presents to unwrap, but she didn’t care about those. She cared about nothing but her new dress and amulet. Right there, in the living room, in front of the whole family, she stripped out of her PJ’s and put the dress on. Then she looked at me, her hair matted from sleep, a crusty sleep booger in her left eye, and said, “Daddy, don’t I look beautiful.”
And I looked at her, my sweet little girl, smiling up at me on Christmas morning, dressed in a purple princess play gown, and realized that somehow I was going to have to get over this.
I will be the first to admit that I am a worrier. I worry about money. I worry about my kids. I worry about wife. I worry all the time. It keeps me up at night, all this worrying. I’d like to say that it was something I developed once I became a father, but that isn’t true. I developed it in my youth, after my father left. I keep waiting for things to come crashing down around me like they did when I was eight, and Dad walked out. 

And as I looked at my sweet little Norah, dressed like a Disney princess, I felt stuck between a rock and a hard place. I wanted her to be happy, and yet I wanted her to grow up to become someone with achievable goals. Right there, I knew that she was happy. I knew that she felt wonderful, like a princess. I knew that I had the power to stop her. To take her out of that dress and throw it away along with all of her other princess dresses. I could stop her from watching princess movies. I could take it all away because she was four-years-old and I am her father.
But I knew that I wasn’t going to do that because it would break her heart. It would destroy the one dream she has at this tender age: to grow up to become a princess. And as crazy and unachievable as that dream seems to me, it is very real to her. I’m not a dream crusher. I am her father. Her dream of becoming a princess who lives in a palace is about as unachievable as my expectations for her future husband and life. Perhaps we were both living in a fantasyland.
I looked down at Norah, smiled, and said, “Yes, Norah. You do look beautiful. You are a very pretty princess.”
Norah let out the sweetest little giggle. Then she jumped into my lap and gave me one of her signature Norah squeezes. 

You would also enjoy, 

Follow on Facebook and Twitter.


Clint Edwards is a tutor coordinator at Oregon State University. He is also the former co-host of the Weekly Reader on KMSU and a graduate of the MFA program at Minnesota State University. His writing has been listed as notable by Best American Essays, and has been published in The Baltimore Review, and through The University of North Dakota, Boston College, Emerson College, The University of South Carolina, and Minnesota State University.