Once upon a time, in a kingdom far far away, there lived a princess who wanted to be just like all the other princesses. She tried to dress like them. She tried to walk and talk like them. She wore a mask so that nobody could see her true colors. At first she felt like her efforts worked. As the years went by, it grew more and more exhausting to keep up with all the other princesses. One day while trying to keep up, she stumbled and fell into a puddle. Her gown tore, her mask was soggy, and she cried. She cried, and cried, and cried.
As she cried, she removed the heavy mask and looked up. For the first time, she could see clearly. She saw that all the princesses were wearing masks. Without the mask, the sun warmed her face, and the breeze dried her tears. Without the mask, she could breathe and felt free.
I am feeling discouraged, disappointed, and disgraced which is the complete opposite of how I thought I’d be feeling this afternoon.
All last week Marley was disappointed because we told her she wasn’t going to be able to participate in her school’s Fun Run on Friday. The run was postponed to today due to rain. Once we learned that it had been moved, we signed her up and in less than 24 hours, Marley raised about $25/lap in pledges from family and friends. Her goal was to run 20 laps. She ended up running 15.
As I’m sitting here typing, my stomach is tide in knots, and tears are flowing. Marley wasn’t allowed to fully participate like her sighted peers in the run. The entire time she was out there, there was someone holding her hand. She even had to stand on the sidelines for a brief stand of the run watching the other students running past her. When she did get to run, she had to hold onto another child’s hand the entire time.
This is a girl who sprints around the neighborhood while her mommy jogs. This is a girl who can run two miles without stopping. This is a girl who runs into any and all situations without fear, without doubt, and without inhibitions.
What the fuck! What is going on while I’m not there? Is her hand constantly being held? Is she coddled? Is she held back from reaching her true potential because of low expectations, because of fear, because of liability?
On our way home I asked her how she felt about the run. Without any enthusiasm she replied, “It was ok.” Digging deeper, I asked her how it felt to run, and how it felt when she had to run holding her classmates hand.
Marley’s answer, “I love running because I feel free, like I can fly. When I was holding someone’s hand I couldn’t move my arms like this, so I couldn’t fly.”
Those powerful words came directly from a five year old’s heart.
Mommy wants you to know that you can spread those wings and fly. Don’t let anyone ever tell you you’re not good enough, smart enough, fast enough, strong enough, or pretty enough.
On a recent Time Magazine cover, there is a controversial photo of a happy couple laying on the beach. Above them it says, “The Childfree Life, when having it all means not having children.”
My husband and I had a lengthy discussion about this yesterday on the way to hang out on the Las Vegas Strip with some friends, who happen to be a child free couple.
At the hotel pool as we happily splashed with our kids, there were plenty of child free couples laying on the loungers reading or sipping cocktails. It made me wonder, who really is the happier couple?
While I’d rather not be woken up in the middle of the night by my daughter’s screams caused by her night terrors, and this morning while both kids emptied everything from my DoTerra lavender oil, band aids, Neosporin, and all the rest of the contents of my first aid bag onto themselves because they were playing doctor. I still wouldn’t trade this life for a million trillion dollars.