Friday, September 11, 2009
The Fairy Tale.
Cinderella and her Prince.
Butterflies, flushing newness, and happily ever after.
I can't truly speak for all American girls, but I can say that I grew up with a horribly misrepresented notion of happily ever after and the fairy tale. The handsome prince who was perfect and flawless. The certainty of being swept off my feet and worshiped and treasured surely meant a lifetime crammed full of sweet nothings and blushing cheeks and intestinal flip-flops, right?
The bookworm that I was as a young girl ran into book after book about the beautiful girl and the prince (or cowboy or dark and mysterious rogue rebel as I grew older) who supplied her life with the promise of happiness and flowers and suave romance and heart palpitating lust every moment of every day for eternity and forever. To my 20th century American girl mind, that was the definition of happily ever after.
I never once read a book about the day Cinderella woke up and realized she would spend the rest of her life eternally retrieving Princely's skivvies from the floor next to the empty laundry hamper. I never read any of her rants about how at least the ugly step-sisters left their clothing inside the hamper and left the stinking toilet seat down and they for freaking sure never ever supplied her bed with so many pillows she dreamt about being choked by marshmallows.
Nor did I encounter a book about how to continue loving your prince through bouts of extreme anger and frustration and tears and hurt (aka P.M.S.) and how to come to terms with the realization that life and love and marriage isn't the idealistic fairy tale I once thought it was.
Now that I'm older and I've experienced a great deal of marriage and love I realize that while fairy tales do exist, it is my concept of both the fairy tale and happily ever after that was grossly askew. Here, I'll explain.
This is a photo of one of my most beloved, highly prized possessions.
It's a poem written for me by my very own Bonehead while he was out at sea for the first time after becoming my husband. It is about both him and (a highly romanticized concept of) me. I'd share the story of the inner romance but some things in a marriage must always remain sacred. What I will say is that upon his return after our first prolonged separation as husband and wife he presented me with this poem.
A few years later he secretly commissioned my high school best friend and maid of honor to turn the poem into a beautiful one of a kind piece of art. For the longest time I kept it tucked away safely in a closet so no harm could come to it. Occasionally I would take a peek, run my fingers lovingly over it and allow the words to once again fill my heart with love.
One day Bonehead took it from it's safe place without my knowledge, grabbed my toddling Smoochie, and the two of them had it professionally framed for me. Almost 10 years into our marriage I walked into our bedroom and found it waiting for me on my pillow.
I know now that happily ever after is different for each person. For me, it is the scattering of joyful moments that tie together the mundane. My fairy tale is knowing the continuing love of a man and being able to share the ins and outs (and yes, the frustration and anger too) of every day life with him. My happily ever after lies with this poem and many other unexpected moments like these that fill my heart with joy.