I will admit – I had a few pangs when Lillian received the gift of Princess Camp for her birthday. As a completely non-princessy girl turned grown-up, I’ve been hell-bent on protecting my daughters’ intellect, and even after all these years of parenting the fairer sex, I sometimes can’t wrap my mind around where princess fits into the equation. Even though we’ve watched princess movies, have had princess birthday parties and all, I just can’t help myself from exercising a certain level of restraint when it comes to cartoon royalty.
But I took a deep breath. Because Princess Camp IS Lillian. And it was a sweet and thoughtful gift from my parents.
“Mom, this isn’t regular SCHOOL!” She told me on Monday as I offered her a skirt and shirt when dressing to leave. “This is PRINCESS camp! Get me a puffy skirt!” she demanded, finger pointing to her room. I obliged and did as was told.
She announced her nervousness on the chariot ride there (in the Dodge Ram Van). But also decreed that it would not stop her, and she knows now – from experience – that it is normal to be a little nervous when faced with something new. I guess it’s just something princesses deal with regularly entertaining heads’ of state and prince charmings and all.
We arrived and joined the other princesses in training. I’m not sure, but I think Lil actually floated in. Ready with a curtsy and a regal bow, the princess trainers welcomed her with joy, she glanced back – only once – and gracefully sashayed into the training room, eager to learn the proper ways of a real-live fairy princess. Her smile and wink conveyed confidently, “You’re free to go.” So I did.
On the ride home, I asked her if she enjoyed herself. “I had a fantastic time!” She declared. “And I even made a friend!” She reminded me of her initial apprehension and how she took a deep breath and overcame it. And like a wave of a fairy godmother’s wand, my intellect suddenly swallowed the experience whole.
And I got it.
Living in a princess world is a wonderful place – especially if it helps you come out of your shell, conquer your fears, make new friends and learn new things – all with the added benefit of being sparkly.
By the end of camp, I’ll admit, I shed a few tears. I watched with joy and embraced the confidence that pretend continues to give my sweet angel of a girl. My dad came to watch the final princess parade, and a smile never left his face.
“What a great gift!” I thought. For her, for him, for me.
Later in the day, I received a call from Helen telling me she just got a great new job: As a PRINCESS for children’s parties!
(True confession: She gets to be my favorite princess. Belle has the best songs, she’s smart, a book-worm and doesn’t care about her hair.)
And twice in one day, I realized that being a princess actually pays off – in so many wonderful ways.