Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Tale of Two Sisters

nce upon a time, in a land stranger than this, there lived a little princess. At least, that’s what her father called her.

Of course, she knew better, for her precious books defined princesses as finely dressed (yet no gowns hung in her closet), arrestingly beautiful (she was plain), and separated from the riffraff of the kingdom by moat and castle (did a swimming pool count for anything?).

She longed to step through the pages of her fairytales and take her rightful place in the castle turret, overlooking the secret garden.

Then one day—on her birthday, no less—her wish was granted in an unexpected way. She received from her much-older-and-wiser sister a most special box covered in green tissue and graced by an elf. Upon lifting the elf-guarded lid, what did she find?

A pearl-studded diamond tiara.

Oh, the magic of such a gift! Her storybook life had arrived.

No one else she knew owned such a headpiece, so the tiara itself separated her from the nonroyals. She didn’t have to be beautiful now; instead, she could feel beautiful. And she believed that once a tiara crowns your head, you’re finely dressed—no matter what unflattering gingham playsuit your mother forces you to wear.

She was a real princess now. Her sister had made it so.

The princess kept her royalty to herself, and she kept her pearl-studded diamond tiara nested in its original box. Throughout her life, the elf-guarded treasure remained with her—through school years and adulthood, through countless moves beyond the castle. Yet now, as the princess faces her golden years, she believes it may be time to let go of the (plastic-and-rhinestone) magic. Pass it on to another child who dreams of being a princess.

But first, she’ll tip her tiara to the world’s newest princess-to-be, and she’ll thank the Universe for the sister who understood that you don’t have to be a princess to feel like one.

[Two Sisters (on the terrace) by Renoir.]

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