My granddaughter is four years old and she thinks she’s a princess. “Well, of course she does!”, you say “what four-year-old girl doesn’t?” After all, little girls are growing up with “Frozen” which is more popular than, well – EVERYTHING! I swear, preschoolers these days think Anna & Elsa will be classmates of theirs as soon as they hit first grade. Disney Princesses are everywhere: books, movies, clothing, accessories – you name it! My granddaughter has been to numerous “princess” birthday parties and has dressed up as a princess every Halloween since she has been able to decide for herself what she wanted to be – all of what? Two years now? The point is, I understand there is nothing unusual about a little girl thinking she’s a princess. What IS unusual is the passion with which she believes it!
I had the pleasure of spending the day with my granddaughter a few weeks ago during her break from preschool. We did a little shopping, worked on a few craft projects; but mostly we just played together. It was while we were playing that she sat herself down and said,
“Grammy, I want to tell you something.”
I could tell she was serious! I knew we were about to have a truly heartfelt conversation!
“OK, honey. You can tell me anything. What is it?”
“Well, this morning Mommy & Daddy laughed at me!”
“Oh! What were you doing that they found so funny?”
“I wasn’t doing anything. It was something I said.”
“Well then…what was it you said?”
“I was explaining to them that I am a princess!”
“Well, of course you are, Sweetheart”, I agreed with a smile. “You’re MY princess! And you’re THEIR princess, too!”
“NO Grammy! I’m a REAL princess! REALLY!” (She was rather emphatic here!)
So I wiped the smile from my face and proceeded to explain to her that most princesses are not real. They exist only in stories. They live in the minds of the people who write those stories and in the hearts of those of us who read them. She assured me she knew all that!
I moved on to convey that there are indeed some real princes and princesses in the world, but they are the sons and daughters of real kings & queens. I told her we don’t have real princesses in our country because we don’t have a king & queen. We elect our leaders. She knew all that, as well!
I informed her that her friends all think they are princesses, too. They believe they are special and beautiful, and they are! We ALL are, in our own special way. She nodded her head in agreement!
“Well, Baby Doll, do you understand?” I asked her.
“Yes”, she replied with a hint of aloofness; but I was skeptical.
“What do you understand?” I inquired.
“Well, I understand that I am really a real princess, but not everybody thinks so! It’s OK though, at least I know I am! I might not always be one, but for now (shrugs shoulders) – I just am!”
“You’re right”, I conceded, “you are absolutely right! And no matter how old I am or how old you are, you will always, always be a princess to me!” (Hugs ensued!)
There will be days soon enough when her friends don’t seem much like friends, when her teacher simply isn’t being fair, or when her parents don’t want to claim her PERIOD, let alone claim she is their princess! Life will become difficult and problems will be overwhelming. Soon, when reality sets in, she will discover she is not that much different than anyone else and that we all just do our best in this world. But for now, in her four-year-old little world, it’s OK for her to believe she is a princess! Who am I to tell her she is not? Now, if she still thinks so when she’s eight? Well, Houston, we might have a problem!