I have a vivid memory of playing with my sister in our “sky blue pink” bedroom with a bunk bed: I, being the ever-bossy older sister, turned to her and said, “I am the princess. You have to do what I say.” She, being the ever-clever younger sister, said, “I am the queen. You have to do what I say.”
I was flabbergasted.
I could not fathom anyone being more powerful than a princess. How could that possibly happen? She was right. She secured her position as the queen and we proceeded in our attempts to climb though our full-length mirror, mimicking as much as possible Alice as she climbed through her famous looking glass.
I was reminded of this memory this past Monday when I took L-Bear to a check-up. When the nurse came in to weigh & measure my dark haired, bright green eyed, smiling baby, she smiled and stated, “She looks like Snow White!” I loved this. For me to have a classic storybook character look alike for a daughter is so perfect.
Later, after the doctor came in to chat about introducing solids, the nurse was back. This time L-Bear needed to get three shots. If you are a parent, you know this is a miserable experience. Each time L gets a shot, she looks up at me while I hold her and makes THAT sad face that says, “Why are you doing this to me!?” then cries. It’s awful. Well, this time, the usual face was presented. She looked up at me. Whimpered a little. I reminded her that I was proud of her for being brave. Then, something surprising happened: L-Bear smiled at the nurse. It was as if she was thinking, “I know this hurts, but I am brave and I understand.”
The nurse paused, then smiled at me and said, “Pretty and brave. Little Snow White.”
I was so proud.
Because of the Disney version of this fairy tale, I think we sometimes forget earlier versions. Snow White’s life was so hard. Her mother died. Her father’s new wife hated her. A hunter tried to kill her. But, after using her wits to convince the hunter to let her live, instead of feeling sorry for herself, she found a new life with people who cared about her. She created a happy existence for herself – became one with the natural world around her.
I know what you’re thinking – true love’s first kiss saved Snow White after she, naively, ate a poisoned apple given to her by a disguised evil queen. Do you really want L-Bear to grow up as a damsel in distress, waiting for a Prince?
You are mistaken, my friend.
In Grimm’s version, based on oral tales of the centuries, there is a prince. And there is an apple. And the sweet trusting Snow White was tricked. True Love’s first kiss didn’t save Snow White, though. The Prince and his fellow travelers came upon Snow White in her glass coffin, and seeing how beautiful she was, decided to bring her back to his home for a proper burial. In doing so, the coffin was dropped, the apple was dislodged, and Snow White awoke, ever grateful.
The Evil Queen, you ask? She, still “green with envy”, attended Snow White’s wedding. While there, “iron slippers had already been put upon the fire, and they were brought in with tongs, and set before her. Then she was forced to put on the red-hot shoes, and dance until she dropped down dead.”
Yup. Good wins again. Snow White’s ability to believe in the goodwill of human-kind enabled her to thrive, even in the worst of situations. Her ability to trust and to continue living with a heart full of love and hope, enabled her to push through her darkest days, and find true happiness.
So, when I think back to these early days on L-Bear’s life, I will always remember her as my sweet, brave Snow White. Smiling through hard times, knowing sometimes life is hard, but always remembering to keep love and hope at the forefront of her being.