Birthdays, Spinning Wheels and Waiting for Prince Charming
We have this fairy tale book, you know the ones with pictures inserted for words—and I know that the pictures are supposed to help with pre-reading —but the illustrations are completely weird and it’s hard to read because Emma Claire keeps pointing out the weirdness and she wonders why the King from fairy tale #1 looks the same as the Prince from the fairy tale #2 and I don’t want to be ugly, so I don’t tell her it’s because the illustrations are terrible , when in fact, they are really, really terrible and I don’t tell her that I’m secretly thinking of throwing away this book and…
Anyway, Sleeping Beauty is her favorite. I’m not sure how I missed it, but I was 39 before I first read Sleeping Beauty and how she pricked her finger on the spinning wheel and went to sleep for 100 years. It all starts with the King and how he forgets to invite the wicked fairy to a feast celebrating the birth of their daughter.
We read this story over and over and over. And, once again, over again. Emma Claire asks about the finger…which finger….where…..how did it prick….what is a spinning wheel…..why is the fairy wicked and I answer best that I can, but one day, out of the mouth of my babe, came this…
“Mom, I don’t get it. Sleep Beauty pricked her finger?”
“And she didn’t die, but she had to go to sleep?”
“But why did she get hurt? It was her Dad who forgot to invite the fairy.”
And I was speechless. Now, OK, yes, I’m the mom and I just happen believe that my children are brilliant and yes, there’s a little bias here, but for a 4 year old to see the ripple; to see how we live in community; to see how the actions we take and the mistakes we make can prick the fingers of another; for Emma Claire to see the injustice (or the “it’s so not fair!”) of having to pay for another’s mistake was, I thought, quite stunning.
Because, well, I didn’t see it. I saw ugly pictures and a princess who got to take a big’ ol nap and wake up kissing her prince. I saw myself in a beautiful ball-gown resting my eyes for a few short hours being awakened by a handsome…..oh never mind.
I saw the fairy tale.
Because grown-ups (especially single at 40 with two children) need the fairy tale.
But Emma Claire saw the truth.
Because children. Always see the truth.
This past week we celebrated Emma Claire’s 4th birthday. And we celebrated BIG. Why not? Children are a gift from God and we are to celebrate His good gifts. We partied with cakes and candles and presents. With barbies and American Girl dolls and Hello Kitty. We partied with giggly little girls, hearts full of joy and we celebrated this life.
And stealing a few quiet moments, I celebrated with a heart full of joy and offered up the gift of praise and THANKSgiving. For I know too well, the God-controlled chaos that has circled her short life and I know too well, that if not for the grace of God, we’d be staring down our very own spinning wheel, and I know. All. Too. Well. the feeling of being pricked.
But God doesn’t leave us there. He doesn’t leave us at the wheel. He ‘s the King who invites us all. His grace is enough and so we celebrate. And we give thanks. And we rest in the knowledge that our King is the King of Kings and our Prince is the Prince of Peace.
And well, how’s that for a fairy tale?