Fairy Godmothers and Fairly Good Mothers
I am raising three daughters. Yes, I’m also raising a son, but today I would like to focus on a lesson that I’m learning from those three sweet girls that I’ve been entrusted with raising.
Namely, it’s my youngest gal who has brought this to the forefront.
Peanut is 2.5 and has become fully engulfed in the princess phase. While spending much of this past winter and spring at Walt Disney World (roadschooling has many perks and making the “Happiest Place on Earth” our family’s classroom for the better part of 5 months is certainly one of them!) might have been a catalyst to propel her there a bit sooner than our older daughters, it’s a natural phase for little girls to go through. We read many fairy tales and fables together and the theme of princesses is woven throughout these story books.
Not a day goes by that Peanut does not dress herself in play silks, place a tiara on her head, grab the nearest stick or other wand-like object and prance about the RV announcing, “I’m a princess! I’m a beautiful princess!” Then she proceeds to frolic away to meet her imaginary price, Prince Frog, of course, or asks me to be her Fairy Godmother and join her in play.
It was one day last week, while I was acting the part of the Fairy Godmother, that I started to realize that I often forget that my role in Peanut’s life is not to be her Fairy Godmother. While we are in her land of make-believe, re-enacting Cinderella’s story together, that’s totally fine (and if you ask Peanut, expected of me) to play the role of the Fairy Godmother. However, when the scene ends and play has moved onto the next act, I return to life as Peanut’s mother. I need to take off the Fairy Godmother hat and remember that my role in her life is not to give her a charmed existence, nor is it my place to solve every one of her problems and challenges that comes her way.
While it is my desire to give her (and her sisters and brother as well) the best life that I am able, that does not mean catering to their every whim. While Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother had the best of intentions by giving Cinderella a quick fix to her problems, when the clock struck midnight, Cinderella found herself scrambling and unsure of what to do next.
Instead of acting as my children’s Fairy Godmother, my hope is that I might simply be a Fairly Good Mother.
I’m not trying for perfection, because that’s a recipe for failure. I’m not trying to give my children a charmed existence, nor a quick fix to all of the problems that come their way. Instead, it is my role to walk with them, gently guide them along the best path for them to walk. My role is to prepare them, as best as I know how, for what lies ahead and help them back onto their feet when they stumble.
Because they will stumble. We all do.
And they need someone who will be there throughout the journey, not someone who sends them off in a golden carriage into the unknown, only to find a pumpkin in its place and confusion at every turn when the clock strikes midnight and reality stares them in the face.
Because that’s just how time works.
Midnight will eventually strike for my Peanut.
Reality and adulthood will one day stare her in the face.
While 15-16 years seems as far away now as the strike of midnight seemed to Cinderella when she set off for the ball, it’s coming.
When that day comes, a Fairy Godmother will have proven inadequate for Peanut and the rest of my crew.
However, my hope is that she’ll be able to look to me and see that a Fairly Good Mother helped prepare her for that day, and that instead of waving my wand and disappearing, as a Fairy Godmother does, I’ll still be right by her side, walking the same path that we’ve always walked together.