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The Princess Club

“They won’t play with me, Mommy. I’m not part of their club. They say I’m not a princess and only princesses can be in The Princess Club.”

Her eyes were filled with tears and for the first time, she didn’t want to go to school. After a little probing, I found out from my daughter that being in “The Princess Club” meant wearing certain clothes, specifically one very expensive brand of dresses. This was one of those moments I had known would come but had hoped we could somehow avoid. It was one I had thought about when she was sweetly sleeping in her crib and one that I had tried to prepare her for. I brushed the curls out of Bella’s face and told her that there are princesses of every type in this world and the most important parts of a princess have nothing to do with the dress or even her crown. I scooped her up into my arms and hugged her while I walked to the kitchen table.

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This princess likes barns instead of tea parties.

A part of me wanted to rush out and buy the “princess” dresses so she could fit in and the heartbreak could end. Mamas are supposed to fix things right? But I knew she was going to face “Princess Clubs” throughout her life and I wouldn’t always be there to simply buy her whatever crown the group required. I thought back to the times in my life when I had also felt this way. I wasn’t born into a royal family and I was a very different kind of child. I loved to read, imagine and explore the outdoors. I was never good at being graceful or delicate. But I did often watch and wonder why others had the things my young heart desired. “Why did they deserve this more than I did? How can I be more like them so they will want to be my friend? Would boys like me more if I changed this about myself? “

          I carried this with me for many years… through high school cliques, college sororities, work situations, relationships, even interactions with other Moms. But my life’s story took a strong turn with my cancer diagnosis and it allowed me to re-examine my life. I slayed my own dragon, the greatest challenge of my life. I look in the mirror now and I see someone who is strong. I see someone who is brave, beautiful and full of kindness and love. I appreciate the treasure that is my life. These are also the characteristics of my own favorite princesses and I wanted my daughter to know this from the very start. I want her to have a guiding star to look up to.
 
        So, she made a list of her five favorite Disney princesses (because she is young and that is her point of reference right now.) Here is what she decided makes each one special:
  1. Cinderella– She was strong even when she felt like no one loved her and she was kind to everyone, no matter who they were (even little animals.)
  2. Belle – She was smart! She loved to read and imagine great things for her life. She wasn’t afraid of an adventure and didn’t change who she was because other people wanted her to.
  3. Elsa– She loved her family so very much. She learned to embrace her unique gifts and it helped her become the sister and person she wanted to be.
  4. Tiana – She worked hard to make all her dreams come true. She stayed focused and believed in herself.
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    A princess loves her family….even her little brother.

  5.  Merida– Merida has a wildness about her that can’t be changed to suit anyone else. We both love that about her. Bella loves how courageous Merida is and her wild, curly hair (because Bella also has wild, curly hair). She also fiercely loves her little brothers.
      After we decided what makes a princess unique, we talked about everyday princesses, women we know and women throughout history. We’ve decided that being a princess is more about attitude and less about birthright, looks and a wardrobe. It’s about staying true to yourself, having the courage to fight for what you believe in and not being afraid of a challenge. It’s about looking out into the world and still feeling small and inspired. We always marvel at the ocean on our weekly visits and imagine what could be on the other side. That sense of wonder is one I know a princess must feel before she sets off on her travels.
 
       When I drop her off at school each morning, I tell her to “have an adventure today”. I hope that I will be able to give her the confidence and strength she needs to face the challenges of her life. I know that when I sneak into her room at night and look at the wild curls framing her sweet, sleeping face, I can’t imagine a princess more grand. I admire her tender, loving heart and abundantly kind nature. She is brave and beautiful in so many ways. I hope that she can see herself the way I see her and hold fast to who she is and what she wants her life to become.  We won’t wake up the next morning in a castle but she will put on her sneakers and go to school knowing that she is a princess in every way that counts. And now she will know what to look for in her own “royal” friends.
 

What is special about your princess? How would you define that royal title?

 
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Always a Princess in Her Mother’s Heart

 
 

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One Response to The Princess Club

  1. Marie Slone
    Marie Slone August 30, 2015 at 2:20 pm #

    Thank you for reading! I just want to add that this little experience that my daughter had was completely simple and normal…and just part of growing up. Her school absolutely does not condone any kind of cliques/bullying. We couldn’t be happier! This is kids being kids and me just trying to help my daughter navigate the world. ( :