“Mawwwedge,” croons the clergyman in The Princess Bride. “Mawwedge is what bwings us together….”
Or is it? According to the reasoning of a certain preschooler, it actually tears us apart.
Thanks to her steady diet of princesses, princes, and happily ever afters, the Maiden used to be obsessed with weddings and marriage in general. More specifically, with marrying my (yes, MY) husband, who is TAKEN, thankyouverymuch. (Now that’s a subject for a whole ‘nother post!). After we attended a family wedding last weekend, I assumed that the festivities would put her over the top. But no.
On the long drive home, the Man and I were entertaining the Maiden by trying, as usual, to persuade her to grow up to be an astronaut, vet, doctor, or anything other than a Disney Princess. One of us casually mentioned marriage.
Her lip trembled. “I don’t want to get married,” she said.
Huh? This was a new development.
And her voice choked up as she told us, “I want to always stay with you, Mummy and Daddy.”
Our first reaction: fine, but she’s going to have to pay rent. (We’re terrible). But after further probing, we learned that a) I had gotten married, and I didn’t live with my parents anymore, and now that b) my sister was married, she no longer lived at my parents’ house, either. And the Maiden didn’t want to get married if it meant leaving us behind.
Whoa. I’m amazed that with all the romantic hoop-la involved in a wedding, the main thing she took with her was the idea of leaving home. I’m also amazed that she, well, likes us so much.
Maybe all the “I don’t like you anymore, Mummy” speeches are just the tough exterior of a 3-going-on-13-year-old. I’d have to say it touched my heart. Being a parent isn’t an easy job: kids can be notoriously unappreciative, and those sweet glimpses into how they truly feel are unfortunately rare. Even when they try to compliment you, it ends up coming out wrong. Like today: “Mummy, your tummy is big because I used to live in it and it got big.” Not what I wanted to hear right after dinner!
Kidding aside, I’m beginning to understand the importance of treasuring those tiny moments as they come. A word here, a look there, a hug at bedtime. The fact that she runs to us to kiss her owies away. Even the constant reliance on us (as irksome as it might seem some days!): she clearly trusts us completely, and trust and love go hand in hand.
The more I think about it, the more I realize just how much we really do mean to her….and how much she really means to us.
Excuse me for a little while. There’s a little sweetie out in the living room who needs an extra cuddle or two!