My eldest daughter is beautiful inside and out. — Truly. Yes, I am her proud and protective father, but for all intents and purposes, she has the ability to stop traffic.
She is 11 now and recently told to me, whilst around the breakfast table, that boys were starting to take notice of her. When I heard her utter those words, I choked, coughed and spluttered as I sprinkled some salt over my cereal, — conjuring up visions of legions of hormone raging, pimply faced teenagers lining up to break her heart. I half jokingly told her that I have made a deal with “Uncle Falk” (my brother). When the date dude arrives to pick her up for the “movie” (YEAH RIGHT), we would both be sitting in the lounge, oiling our collection of baseball bats and assault rifles. (There’s nothing like creating a lasting impression when discussing curfew)
I have 2 daughters and a boy in the middle. They say that with girls, the evil comes into your home, and with boys, the evil leaves the home… — I guess I am going to have a busy time making deals with the powers above and below me…
I am an avid listener and our drive to their mom often gives me real pointers as to what’s going on in their little minds. My youngest, Dakota Lilly, and Ruby Rose have fairly opposing points of view on the subject of marriage. Dakota does not remember what life was like as whole family and her view of Prince Charming is quite the opposite to Ruby’s. Dakota is going to marryThor when she is older, and he can come and live with her in her cottage which is at the edge of a forrest, by a lake, where they will have 4 children. (Talk about Nordic roots)
Ruby Rose, on the other hand, is going to meet an extremely wealthy man who owns a mansion and a jet. The dude will be good looking and they will ride into the sunset in their convertible Ferrari. — Talk about Kugel roots!!! I am not always around their house to listen to conversations about hair straighteners and what car her granny’s boyfriend drives, but Rosie’s view of the world was disturbing to me.
I don’t want my girls to subscribe to the stereotypical, albeit somewhat outdated fairytale of prince charming dashing into her life, swooping her up and henceforth absolving her of all the wonderful mysteries which this life wants to serve up to her. My brother has a fairly straight-up approach with his daughter. He tells her that Barbie is an airhead and leaves his Anna to connect the dots from there. I am not sure what the latest right-for-the-timesBarbie incarnation is. A new “earthy” Barbie may be depicted with wool underarm hair, chanting “Gluten Free is the new me” when you press the little button hidden in her armpit. Ken is by now sporting a hipster beard and comes with a whole range or lumber-jack looking plaid shirts, really skinny jeans and is able to hold little plastic cell phones from all the major manufacturers, striking the selfie pose when you press his button (wherever that may be hidden). — Who knows, but one thing is for sure…. Our little peeps are growing up in quite a confusing world. All the disney classics are still expounding the traditional fairytale stories where the Princess meets her Prince. You only have to go to your local toy mega store around christmas time, to see that the “old story” is still alive and well, claiming its fair share of impressionable little girl minds.
I have not thrown away their Barbie dolls. I am rooting for my girls to meet Mr Right and I really do wish them a happy life together. But, there is a “butt” (the size of the horse’s that prince charming rode in on)…
Find your man, your mate, I say, but don’t make the pursuit of your fairy tale come at the neglect of creating a fairy tale in which you, my girl, are the hero. Throw yourself into life’s current and be prepared to grow as a person. You will grow when you have learned the lessons that life wants to place in front of you. Create on your very own path. Value yourself and don’t place your expectations for happiness squarely in the hands of another. Please, please don’t be impressed by the trappings of wealth. It would break my heart to hear that your fairytale has left you like Rapunzel, all alone in a tower, while your Prince Charming is roaming the countryside in search of approval from other surgically enhanced platinum blondes. (Actually, Rapunzel ended up with an anti hero, which was cool) Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you should marry well, because they are selfishly considering their retirement cottage on the lawns of your estate.
Find your ideal guy. Don’t marry the first one you meet. Find someone whom you can be best friends with. Find a kind man who is honest and cares for you, whilst not robbing you of the beautiful carousel ride which is this life.
I want my girls to value their own precious selves, way before they feel the pull of society, urging them to present themselves in their fairytale wedding gowns, ready to hand over their own individuality to some wannabe corporate suit who is going to make jokes about a woman’s place being either in the kitchen or the bed.
So, the next time you place too much emphasis on the story of a fairy-tale, based on stereotypes which rids your daughters of their real worth, why not insist that they should first go and make something of themselves. Tell them to find or at least quest for their calling in life. You may just find that, given the confidence of someone who has a purpose in life, they will be better equipped to find their true prince charming, their true friend and mate… They will not be wooed by how much money he will make available for the next holiday of boob job. Instead of wanting a new Range Rover, rather look for a rich life to be your vehicle to happiness.
Finally, I want to say that Ruby is turning the corner on her mindset. She is a voracious little reader and recently found a book in which the heroine was a feisty go-getter who wanted nothing from a prince on a horse until she had tamed her own horse. That’s my girl.
This beautiful poem captures it so well…
“After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,
And you learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn…
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,*
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure…
That you really are strong
And you really do have worth…
And you learn and learn…
With every good-bye you learn.”
Jorge Luis Borges
To my boy Phoenix, I say: ”Make sure you wear a condom” — LOL