Once upon a time there was a little girl who dreamed of being a princess. She had gowns, wands, sparkly shoes and a tiara for every occasion. She expected all of the plebians in her life to address her as Princess Strawberry (or Aurora or Anneliese or Ariel or whatever name struck her fancy). She memorized the book “What Is a Princess?” At the supermarket she’d wave her wand at a watermelon and command it to “turn into a coach.”
Her mother took her to see Cinderella at the North Shore Music Theater. The little girl was so excited she even wore blue Cinderella undies. When they arrived they saw that the music theater had been overtaken by a fairytale convention. In a sea of little-girl princesses, Hope did not need make-believe, she was Princess Cinderella.
From the moment the curtain opened she was entranced, this was better than a dream! When the Prince came on stage the mother was sure she heard her 3.5 year old swoon.
The mother enjoyed watching the little princess more than she did the show. Then she glanced at her watch and realized in a panic that they would have to leave in fifteen minutes to pick up Hope’s sister from school. Ooops. She had not expected the show to last so long!
This was an emergency. Desperately the mother scanned the audience, looking for someone she might know, someone who could watch the girl while she went to pick up her other child. But there was no one. The mother contemplated calling someone, but she couldn’t use her cell phone in the middle of the show.
They would have to leave the show early…
right at the part where Cinderella runs from the ball and the clock strikes midnight (or really, 2:15 pm).
The mother carried the royal child out of the theater, a mass of pink lace and taffeta, her arms and legs outstretched toward the stage. In the aisle, her glass slipper sparkly shoe fell off her foot. The mother grabbed it, but did not try to put it back on. Even the ushers looked horrified as they exited. How could they leave now?
Her highness, stunned, said nothing as she was buckled in, her gown threatening to overtake her through the carseat straps. Crown crooked, wand dangling, huge crocodile tears spilled down her fairy cheeks.
“I’m so, so sorry, Princess.”
The girl sobbed.
“Oh, fair princess. Look! I have your glass slipper!”
The child looked up and wiped the tears from her angel face, eagerness in her eyes.
“Let’s start at the beginning of the story, o.k.? I’m Cinderella.”
“O.K.! And I’ll play the Fairy Godmother!”
“No,” she sighed, “You’re the evil stepmother.”