Tonight Anna was Cinderella. She told me to call her so.
“I’m not Anna,” she told me, “I’m Cinderella.”
“Well, it’s time for bed, Cinderella.”
“But I don’t want to go.” She doesn’t say this often, she is usually very eager to go to sleep unless she has had a nap during the day, and today she did. I was expecting this.
I tucked her in her Barbie bed and watched her drift off.
Anna’s Aunt Katie had given her a “treasure chest” full of four of the Disney Princesses’ outfits for Christmas and she has been wearing one daily. Some days she’s Princess Fiona basking about in her Halloween costume in which it is apparent she has grown at least two inches since Halloween. Other days she’s Peter Pan and lucky me, I’m Wendy. Sometimes she’s Milo from Milo and Otis, but tonight she was Cinderella.
Along with the outfits in the treasure chest are small pieces of plastic jewelry to go with each princess outfit. A pastel pink one for Sleeping Beauty, a baby blue one for Cinderella and I’m guessing Snow White to share, and a yellow one for Belle. After she decides which princess she is going to be for the day, she digs in the box until she finds the corresponding ring, slides it onto her right pointer finger, and walks around with it held in her little hand clenched just tight enough to keep the ring from sliding off. She’ll walk around like that all day, her little fist held up as if she’s getting ready to shout, “Hip, Hip, Hooray!”
Tonight, as I watched her fall asleep, I looked at her all over. Perfect little nose on a perfect face, sweet little lips that are just right for kissing, soft shiny blonde hair that looks like fairies took turns sliding down strands of it leaving glistening trails throughout, and then, one small loosely clenched hand holding onto that plastic baby blue ring on her finger as if it were the world.
Ah, I realize that all kids do things like this. Go to sleep with construction belts, or a princess tiara. But this is my first time going through it and I am completely awestruck. She is amazing. Kids are amazing, how they believe with all of their tiny being that Elmo really is talking to them through the television screen, and that Dora really does need their help using the map. I mean, I remember pretending as a child. A lot. Making trees come to life as my house or getaway dragon and that our woods were full of magic ... I guess that was real to me, but it was make-believe, I’m the one that made it up.
I just don’t remember believing. Not this way ... not wholeheartedly ...
Before she went to bed tonight she told me, her husband “the prince,” was going to dance with her. God, I hope he does ...
I am truly and completely enamored by her. I watch her with my eyes, with my heart.
I can only pray and wish that the world treats her like the princess she is. I will work my hardest to make sure of that ...