Sunday, January 9, 2011

Unexpected Fairy Tales

I've been thinking a lot about fairy tales since Tangled.  I've been thinking about how I actually do believe in fairy tales.  And how I want my children to believe in them, also.  And I'm not sure that's a bad thing. 

I think the problem is when we think everyone's fairy tale should look the same.  Or that someone else should create it for us.  Or that the fairy tale can't change.  Or even that it should be perfect.

A lot of conditions.

The truth is, I really do love my fairy tale life.  And I know it wouldn't be someone else's fairy tale.  But I think that's how I know it's mine.  Because I love it no matter what anyone else tells me.  No matter what anyone else does.  No matter how different my path might look from everyone else I see, this is the one I choose.

The fairy tale Steve and I set out to create isn't the one we're living, but I like that.  I like that it's fluid and changing and keeps evolving as we evolve.  Dumping our belongings out of our life like a ship going down is definitely not everyone's fairy tale.  But when I picture my little pod of loved ones in a tent in Europe, a boat in the gulf, or an RV across the country...that IS my fairy-tale.

I want people, not things.  I want experiences, not stability.  This is my fairy-tale, designed around Steve's and my shared belief:  If there's stability within the family, then all the other variables (geography, home, careers) are just details.  I could be a lot of jobs in a lot of places in any country in the world.  But if I come home to these three children and Steve, then it doesn't much matter.

I don't think it's "settling" that my most precious times with my Prince Charming are staying up WAY too late talking, when we both know he needs to get up at 5AM...but we can't stop saying one more thing.  And then another and another.  I love that my Prince is so perfect for me, no matter how crabby or irritable we can be with each other sometimes, that not one person on Earth could convince me there's someone better out there for me.

This is where I want to be.

I didn't think children were part of my fairy tale, but I always assumed I'd eventually have them. That some mystical maternal instinct would kick in and I'd find all babies beautiful and perfect.  Turns out, that didn't entirely happen until I had my own, and now I realize that creating life is the most incredible honor the world could possibly have given me. 

And this little daughter on my lap, stroking my face and muttering in my ear while I type?  Not one person on Earth could convince me there's a more beautiful, intelligent, sweeter, funnier little fairy-baby than this sweet little Simone. 

This is where I want to be.

Marriage and three babies isn't everyone's fairy tale, and perhaps I could have been just as happy roaming the planet with my backpack and tent and doing war journalism. The vision I thought I had for myself, pre-Steve. 

But when I send my children out into the world, I want to tell them to create a life that makes them FEEL like it's a fairy tale, no matter what anyone else does or says.  That they can think of their dream job, then do what it takes to get there.  Schooling, unpaid internships living on ramen noodles, whatever.  Only marry someone who looks at them like they are cherished and adored, and makes my child feel like he or she *IS* the only person they could have married. 

Hold out for fabulous, and I think that's what makes it a fairy-tale.