The horses disappear as my carriage slowly rolls to a stop, its wheels collapse, and its light blue color morphs into a familiar orange. I realize my fairytale is over, and all I have left is a pumpkin.
Little girls are hardwired to dream of the day that their Prince Charming will come along. The thought of wearing a crown, living in a palace and claiming the throne captivates the mind of every little girl.
“Cinderella” was my absolute favorite movie growing up, and to this day it remains in my top five. I used to imagine my fairy godmother would appear in the midst of my greatest distress and lead me to my Prince Charming.
Well, despite opportunities for her to show up and save the day, she never came. Once I realized that life is no fairytale, I gave up the dream that I once envisioned. I hung up my invisible crown and began to occupy my mind with other fantasies.
Now that I am a college student, my daydreams are much more realistic. When I was younger my dreams dwarfed the goals I have now. Children dream big. I think adults could learn a lot from children.
When I came to college, I finally received my invitation to the ball, so to speak. The Women for Harding, a service organization which fundraises for scholarships, hosts an event every year for children in the Searcy community called “The Princess & Superhero Party.” This event invites families to bring their children to Harding for a day filled with autographs, pictures and stories. The children dress up as their favorite superhero or princess, and recipients of the Women for Harding scholarships dress up as fairytale classics. All of the proceeds go straight to the organization’s scholarship fund.
I was asked to be Cinderella my sophomore year after the previous princess graduated. I was able to live out a dream I was once so passionate about, but had since given up on.
As Cinderella, I stand at the front of the room in my ball gown with Prince Charming as miniature Snow Whites and Sleeping Beauties approach us for an embrace. Looking up at me, one little girl even proclaimed, “You are a real princess! I wish I was a real princess.” I smiled back at her and said, “Oh, but you are a real princess.” She smiled from ear-to-ear, and I knew that she took what I said to heart.
I know this event is special for the kids that attend, but I honestly believe I get more out of the day than they do. I did not realize why I dreamt of being a princess until the first time I put on the dress and signed “Cinderella” as my name.
My crown didn’t make me famous. I did not rule a land or rest on a throne. I did, however, become an example. I became a dreamer again.
Kids dream big because fear has not yet engulfed them. Adults have safe-zones and limits. Each year, the tiny princesses remind me to dream big, because every dream counts. Dreams should be whimsical. Dreams should be limitless. Being a princess reminds me that every dream matters, and every face behind the dream matters, too.