Snow White. Cinderella. Sleeping Beauty. Those were the princesses of my childhood. The princesses little girls pretended to be when we played dress-up and make-believe.
But, alas … long gone are my days of pretend. Princess fantasies are only distant memories. Prince Charming carried me off a quarter of a century ago, and is outside mowing the front lawn of our house in the suburbs – not a castle. My pumpkin-shaped carriage is a blue minivan, and my glass slippers are sparkly flip-flops.
While reality brought no fairy godmother to turn me into Cinderella, I am still part of a classic fairytale. No, I’m not Snow White, or Sleeping Beauty, or even the evil queen. (Don’t ask my kids to comment on that one.) I grew up to be the seven dwarfs.
The leader of the dwarfs is Doc. Now … I’m no licensed doctor, but all mothers acquire the title of Doc when their toddler begins to motor around the house. And, twenty years later, I’m still the resident doctor – having all varieties of bandages, ointments, wraps, compresses, and every over-the-counter drug ever made.
When stressed, Doc tends to get his words mixed up. I don’t know exactly when this phenomenon happened to me, but sometime between Little League and college applications, my thinking, and words, became confused. Some blame it on the teenage years, but Doc didn’t have any teenagers that I know of, so I’m still not entirely sure of the reason for this acquired disability.
Bashful does not like to be the center of attention. When the focus is on him, he turns beet red from the bottom of his neck through the top of his ears. I, too, have the ability to morph from a milky white complexion to a tomato red flush, with only the merest mention of my name. While blushing can be endearing, i.e. the blushing bride, for the most part it’s just annoying. And these days, I don’t blush only when I’m nervous or embarrassed; I blush for the sheer joy of blushing. I believe it’s affectionately referred to as “hot flashes.”
Sneezy has a severe case of environmental allergies. Me, too. Dust, furry animals, flowers … all of it. And neither Sneezy nor I have small, dainty sneezes. No, sir. At the first sign of ‘ah-ah,’ everyone in the vicinity assumes the old “duck-and-cover” position.
Sleepy? Yes – drooping bags under the eyes included. This started during my first pregnancy, subsided through the pre-adolescent years, and returned with a vengeance on our oldest child’s thirteenth birthday. I remember days gone by when I would rush home from the ball to beat the twelfth chime at midnight. Now, while my kids are primping to go out, I’m prepping for bed.
Dopey is the endearing dwarf. I always felt sorry for the little guy – like my kids feel sorry for me. He’s usually a little out of step, trips over nothing, and walks into walls. (I’m pretty sure this happened to me at the same time as the confused words.) And Dopey doesn’t know if he can talk. The reason? He never tried. How many things do I assume I can’t do because I’ve never tried?
Grumpy is more complex than initial appearances indicate. He’s suspicious of everything, and he doesn’t trust anyone. Grumpy’s motto: “Give ‘em an inch, they’ll walk all over ya’.” He’s always mad; huffing and stomping around to make sure everyone knows it. And he works very hard at being grumpy -- even trying to suppress a smile when he’s treated nicely.
Yet … Grumpy does care down inside. He cries hysterically when he thinks Snow White has died; and dances unashamedly when she wakes up. But, through it all, he insists on maintaining his Grumpy persona.
Too often I, too, protect my right to “grumpiness.” And while it’s funny in an animated character – it’s not so humorous in real life.
And what of the seventh dwarf? Happy. Am I that dwarf, too? Happy is always laughing. He finds joy in everything. (He doesn’t deny sorrow, however; crying when Snow White falls asleep.) Happy likes to sing and dance, even though he’s not very good at it.
I used to be Happy … but my “maturing” process squelched some of that unabashed Happy-ness. Why can’t I just bellyache laugh out loud and dance with abandon in public? Who says growing up means growing refined?
Today, I resolve to be all seven dwarfs. Starting now, I choose to be Happy, too.
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