Thursday, December 15, 2011
The Little Princesses
I was watching a Christmas version of Beauty and the Beast earlier with Braden and he said, "there are two Belles, Stephi, one is a princess and one is my sister" and I said, "B, your sister is a princess, too.. all girls are" He looked at me, smiled and said. . . "you're right, Stephi." I really wish it was this easy to convince everyone, especially other girls that all girls are princesses.
When I was in elementary school I thought I had myself a tied and true best friend. We did everything together and I just knew we would be friends forever. I was wrong. There came a time when she just completely stopped speaking to me for no clear reason and I was devastated. I remember going home to my mom and crying and begging for her to tell me what I possibly could have done wrong. She never had the answer to that question, but she always made me feel totally loved, totally wanted, and totally like a princess. I was very fortunate to have made wonderful friends at a reasonably young age and am still able to call them friends. Some I don't talk to weekly, or even monthly, and some I am lucky to see every six months, but I know they are my friends and they are true ones at that.
As a nanny I get to watch two beautiful kids grow and come more into themselves, I get to watch them play and maintain a freedom I have come to envy, but I also get to watch a precious little girl get off the bus and, on some days, it is not with as big of a smile as she possesses. I know from conversation and simply watching interaction that she is experiencing some of the disappointment I remember with a fondness that is lacking.
Looking back on those memories, watching a little girl grow, and knowing what I know at 24, I maintain, without a doubt, that there are few things harder than being a little girl growing wings, a young adult coming into puberty, or a young woman getting comfortable in her own skin. I was lucky enough to have a mom that told me how fabulous I was every time I needed to hear it and Belle is lucky to have a mom that does the same for her, but as many of you know, sometimes that just isn't enough. It is a hard thing to go to school and not be sure of whom you will be sitting with in the cafeteria, it is a hard thing not knowing if you will be invited to a slumber party/birthday celebration that everyone is anticipating, it is a hard thing to be a little girl.
I am not a mom, but I love Belle like a little sister. So when I get the sense that she is experiencing pain, when I hear stories of school friends being unfair, when I know exactly how it feels to feel left out I want to hold her, I want to protect her, and I want to make sure she knows that as long as she keeps smiling and letting her pretty, blue eyes light up- she will meet the girls that will prove their loyalty to her, she will meet the girls who will stand behind her when she's being mistreated, she will meet the girls who will likely end up in her wedding 20 years from now.
I am not a mom, but I am a girl. I am a girl who was once a smaller version of who you know now; I am a girl who thought she found a friend for life in that first grade class but ended up being disappointed; I am a girl who was told everyday how special she was, how priceless she was, and how loved she was. And I'm still that girl- the girl who is self-conscious around new people, the girl who is shy until you get to know me, the girl who wants to do everything but disappoint the people around me. I am the girl who still gets told everyday how special I am, how priceless I am, how loved I am. Some of you may not hear this everyday, and I am sorry. Know that there are parts of you that can never be duplicated, never be replaced, never be forgotten.
I guess what I want out of this blog post most of all is for all the girls out there to realize a few things. . .
*We set the tone for how our peers will treat us- be kind and smile- even in the scariest faces of adversity because, although it may not seem it now, it will pay off for you in the end.
*Be aware of what others may be going through. Life is rough for everyone. . . just in different ways. A smile from you can change someone's entire outlook.
*Everyone needs a friend.
*You are a princess, I am a princess, we are all princesses. From our hair to our toes, inside and out, front to back. And if you are reading this and this concept hasn't occurred to you then soak it up, take it in, meditate on it. Because every little girl deserves to be told she's wonderful, every little girl deserves to come out of adolescence as unscathed as possible, every little girl deserves to grow up and be a woman who knows her worth, who understands the effects she has on others, and who raises little princesses of her own.
So, tell the next girl you see she's precious, stick a Post-It on your bathroom mirror to remind yourself you're beautiful, be aware that being a princess is so much more than 'Happily Ever After' and great hair, and make sure the little eyes and ears around you know that kind words will change lives, real friends are forever, and everyone deserves to know they are someone.
Treat yourself to a princess day, today. . . and everyday.