And I double cringed when I saw how happy she was in them.
She received them as a hand-me-down from her sweet cousins and wore them like Prince Charming had just placed a glass slipper on her foot. Chris and I exchanged a similar "omg" glance as she twirled and pranced and gushed, "Look at me mom!" as they lit up with each step.
So, why the cringe? Good question. One that I have been pondering for the past several days since said shoes made their way through our front door. I hope that I have found an answer to help explain.
Let me preface by saying that my thoughts are in no way an indicator of how I feel towards other moms, little girls or the entire Disney cast for that matter, who love them some princess paraphernalia. In fact more power to you and thank you, as my daughter will always want to be invited to your houses :)
Although I am a girly kind of girl, I am not a princess kind of girl. And in turn, am not a princess kind of mom. Maybe to a fault. Logan is 2 1/2 and we have not yet watched one "Princess" movie. She has no gowns or wands or crowns and could not tell you the difference between Belle, Ariel or Jasmine. I have escaped the aisles of barbies, dress-up and princesses alike. And if I were being honest, I would suppose I'd say I'm (selfishly) proud of that. Here's why:
Princesses scare the crap out of me.
They scare me into thinking that my little girl will wonder if she's not good enough as she is. Not pretty enough in her own clothes. Not strong enough without her prince. They scare me, a grown woman, enough to know that there is a certain way to look. A preferred way to behave. A proper way to act around boys. And while I am sure that someone can prove me wrong, all the "princesses" I have encountered in real life are quite intimidating. Their seemingly perfect, pretty and popular nature is one that comes on strong, is alluring to boot and is hard to shake when your life seems nothing of the sort.
Like injuries, bullies and sugary soda, I find myself wanting to shield my little girl from the inevitable comparison of herself to that of princesses for as long as possible. It terrifies me to think that she may look at anyone else as more beautiful, more perfect, than her true self. I want her to know that failing is okay. That bad hair days happen. That she won't always get the boy. I want her to know that she may not be the most popular girl in school. I want her to know that although she needs to be polite, she doesn't always need to be happy. I want her to see that there are other rewards in life besides being pretty and some of the best of them are found when you feel...just plain ugly. I want to make sure that she has played in enough dirt, has fallen on her knees and gotten back up and has discovered that the color turquoise may even be prettier than the color pink.
I realize that it all sounds very dramatic, even silly, but it has taken being a mother to feel this way. I never thought that this kind of stuff would bother me. Never thought that I would be the mother "censoring" something as innocent as princesses. I never thought that I would think twice before buying too much pink or wondering what age is appropriate to own a barbie. I never imagined that I would think carefully before enrolling her in ballet as opposed to music or choose a book on animals over fairy princesses. Heck, I even think twice about the message I am sending when I apply my make up in front of her on a daily basis. And it's all for no other reason than wanting to make it less scary for myself.
You see, Logan already knows that there is something special about those shoes. She knows that she would rather wear the pink glittery pair as opposed to her comfortable purple sneakers that she can run and play in. She knows that she is getting special attention when she walks carefully on their heels that light* up with every step. She knows that they are making her feel different than how she normally does. And she likes it.
My only hope is that when she wears these shoes that she also knows that she is the beautiful one, not the shoes. That she possesses the confidence. That she is lighting up the room. I want Logan to know that she is the most precious princess there ever was.
* On a totally separate side note, why must these light up? I have only seen one other "profession" in which high heels light up. And it's on a stage. With very little clothing. And a pole. Are you with me?