Princess & the Pea
I read the Princess and the Pea to my kids the other day and I just saw Pottery Barn has a doll called the Princess and the Pea doll.
The Princess and the Pea was one of my favorite books. I was also a big fan of sugar snap peas. My mom and I would have a snack of sugar snack peas, they were the tastiest thing to me and now I grow them, but anyway, back to me and my peas. So I decided even as a three year old, I must be a princess, and this can’t possibly be my life, so I would try to sleep with a pea under myself. Now mind you I didn’t have tons of mattresses, I didn’t even have a mattress, I slept on an old pull out sofa, with springs almost popping up through it. So I would gather lots of pillows and lay on top on them on top of this pea. It would never wake me and I would end up rolling off my 3 or so pillows and knowing the next morning, I was not a princess. I also used to think my prince was going to show up at our door on a white horse and whisk me away (let’s not even talk about how there are studies on little girls and princess fantasies and realty out there now, which I don’t think existed when I was little). I guess eventually I just figured well this is my life, I need to deal with it. And then sometime later, I moved in with my grandparents and had a proper bed and my own room.
But I knew there was more out there in life. I remember thinking when I grow up I’m going to have wing back chairs, in my mind life and stability were all about wing back chairs and thank God I don’t actually have any today. I also thought real life was families like Dallas and Dynasty- all ball gowns and money. I went straight to the far extreme, didn’t I? But in reality I knew that places like my grandparents house where you ate dinner at the table, and had a room and a bed and people didn’t fight all the time, that was normal. I guess I figured I was not going to be a princess, but I always knew there was more. I knew if I studied and fought for myself, if I pushed myself and stayed on a good path, I too could have things like rooms for my family and wing back chairs. I wouldn’t need my child thinking they would wake up in a magical kingdom and life would be sweet, because life would already be as sweet as it could get for them. It’s funny. People always say kids don’t really know when they are poor, but you do. I was never lacking for toys or clothes, but I was lacking for stability and a real home and a real family and wingback chairs and a mom who wore houndstooth dress trousers and made cookies after school and had a fancy living room and one you could actually sit in. There has always been an ache or a longing in my heart for normal family life.
I never did become a princess, but I am living an incredible full life, with awesome kids and an amazing husband. I still don’t have a “formal” living room with wing back chairs, but even if I did my kids and pets would make it pretty informal in no time. I didn’t need to sleep on those peas. It was there in me all along, the desire to be more, to rise above my roots. This is home.