I live with a princess.
When she is not bustling about, as a very humble mommy, she is gliding about, as a glittering princess. (And, sometimes, she is both at the same time and I have no choice but to smile because, all thoughts of princess culture aside, I love that, in her world, she can be a mommy and a princess and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to be the same, sometimes).
Her princess of choice is Cinderella.
We let her watch the Disney movie a few months ago and now she can recite the story from memory. When she gets to the part where the glass slipper breaks but Cinderella produces its match, I see a little sparkle in her eyes. As if each time she’s hearing it for the first time. Each time holds so much magic and wonder.
Like most mothers of three-year-old princesses, the obsession makes me feel a bit uneasy. Yes, there are things to be learned from Cinderella. The importance of kindness and grace. Dreams can come true. Believe in your heart. There is even an important lesson about karma. It’s all in there.
But it’s all hidden behind a sparkly blue dress, a pair of glass slippers, and a glittering, pumpkin shaped coach.
And so, I’ve begun a search for other ways to engage her imagination. Other women to talk about and dream about. Other players for her land of make believe.
I’m not trying to evict the princesses. But I am trying to give her some other sources of inspiration. I am trying to expose her to women she can admire. Ones who will stay with her long after her fairytale days are in the past and teach her that happily ever after does happen but you must work a bit for it.
My search led me to The Girl with a Brave Heart.
The story bears striking similarities to my girl’s favorite. A young girl, Shiraz, lives the life of a servant to a stepmother and stepsister. She is kind and loving. She listens not to the words people utter with their mouths but the truths that whisper from their hearts. For this rare skill, she is rewarded.
The story is lovely. The message is clear. And because it somewhat parallels her favorite, I know my girl will latch on and internalize the lessons. I look forward to Shiraz taking her place next to Cinderella in our imaginary play. I look forward to an alternative when I am asked, for the twelfth time in an hour, to recite a story about princesses.
In about a week, The Girl with a Brave Heart will be a gift to my girl to celebrate the end of her first year of school. For a year that required so much bravery and a good deal of heart, I can’t think of a more perfect gift.
Barefoot Books is Raising Humans’ newest partner. A few weeks ago, the amazing Shari Huffman contacted me and I thought it was too good to be true. That, through the magic of Twitter, two people with such similar values and passions can find one another, blows my mind. Yes, this is the future.
As I’ve said before, I will only partner with people and companies who share my values and beliefs and whose products or services feel good to me. That could not be more true of Barefoot Books. Their mission inspires me and I know it will inspire you too.
All of that said, the thoughts and opinions above are all my own. I love this story and the story behind the story.