I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville wife and mother with a passion for family travel, (mostly) healthy cooking, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries with you, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark.
July 1, 2013
When my daughter was small, like many other girls her age, she was crazy about princesses. She read princess storybooks, collected princess dolls, listened to princess music, watched princess movies, and of course…
…she wore princess dresses.
Everywhere she went.
I didn’t encourage Punky’s princess fixation, but I didn’t discourage it, either. She was who she was, and the kid happened to like princesses. Who was I to get in her way? By the time she was five, she had collected a small wardrobe of suitable princess attire, enough to outfit herself nearly every day of the week.
It didn’t faze her that she was the only one at the grocery, the library, the playdate, dressed in a fraying confection of cheap tulle and netting. Punky was entirely unselfconscious in the way that only small children can be, and she accepted compliments from strangers about her outfits with a modesty and grace that would have pleased even the most demanding royal highness.
Because if you’re going to dress like a princess, it’s basically a go-big-or-go-home kind of deal.
Once Punky started school, the princess craze very slowly faded away. The dresses were worn less and less often, and along with the princess dolls, they were eventually relegated to the land of toys my kids no longer play with, but aren’t quite ready to give up– otherwise known as the playroom closet. From time to time, I noticed the dresses hanging on their hooks, but I didn’t think much about them. In the back of my mind, I thought another day would come when Punky would want to put one on and parade around the house in some elaborate role playing game.
So I was completely unprepared when my daughter came down from the playroom last week with all of her princess dresses heaped over one arm.
“I’d like to give these dresses away, Mommy,” she said. “Can I?”
It was a simple question, but my heart immediately began to beat faster.
Just like that, The Princess Years were over.
I told my daughter that she could indeed give the dresses away. All of them were inexpensive and most were in need of repair– I had no reason to save them if Punky wasn’t going to wear them anymore. The next day, a young neighbor came over and left wearing one of the dresses and carrying a few more in her arms, a big smile plastered across her face. A few days later, another neighbor girl was given the remaining princess dresses. A part of me was pleased with Punky’s generosity and grateful to have a little more space in the closet.
Last night, my neighbors gathered in our cul-de-sac as we often do, while our kids played together.
“Thank you for the princess dresses,” one of the dads said. “Sadie just loves them. She came in our room the other day at six in the morning wearing one, very proud of herself, and said ‘How do I look?’ She said that Punky told her the dress used to belong to a real princess!” We all laughed.
But my daughter was right, you know. She was a real princess. She still is in the most real sense of the word, even if she no longer has the dresses to prove it. She is thoughtful and kind, generous and compassionate, gracious and loving and always, always thinking of those who are less fortunate than she is.
She is our princess and she always will be.
But damn. I’m going to miss those dresses.
Black and white image via Claire Wise