Monday, May 30, 2011

The memory of a lost princess

When my oldest daughter was seven years old we moved into our home. She'd lived in four places already. That's a lot of moving for someone so small.

Seven was a big year for her. I got married, we moved, she switched schools. I can recall the weight of all that change on my shoulders. There's only so much a little girl can take until she breaks right in half. (And the stuff of princesses is not pretty. It comes out like snakes and dragons, not the fluff that comes out when you break a prince.)

But she didn't break. She soared.

The night before our big move I had one thing only on my mind. Her bedroom. I'd chosen the prettiest one for her. The one with the trees tapping on the windows. But it was also the room that wasn't quite finished. Only primed in pasty white primer.

I went to a paint store and picked out a soft, soft pink. And then a bunch of colorful enamels and a few of those sponge stencils. You know, the ones that don't LOOK like stencils.  I stayed up for the whole night painting and then carefully applying colorful, eclectic flowers in a random array on her walls.  My fiance was annoyed, I'd left him to pack up the rest of our things himself... but I didn't care. The only thing on my mind was that my Princess needed a room that spoke to her greatness. That she would find it a safe haven for many, many years. That it would usher her into an adulthood free of the worries I'd had as a child.

My friend Maryfrances came to help and we took a quick walk in the deep dark night, down to the sea where we discussed princesses and kings, and kingdom finances. (It's stressful to be a Queen these days.)

With the morning light I could see the room was ready. And like most things that are good... I felt her happiness in my bones before I saw her eyes light up. And I live for that still... her eyes shining. No eyes shine brighter in my world.

When she was thirteen she asked if she could paint her room. I said: "Yes, but don't forget that the room won't be the same. It isn't like you can visit it again." She changed her mind.

My beauty is seventeen now. My other daughters are still little. But Rose? Rose is grown. And there are so many times that I fear I've lost her, my princess.

But then I walk into her room. She's never changed it. It still bears the paint and flowers. It still makes her feel safe. I see her there, all the incarnations of her. Lost inside the flowers and the pink. Peeking out at me.

May you have pink rooms wherever  you go, my love. And if you ever feel like you need an errant flower, remember that you are one.



  1. They grow up too fast. She looks gorgeous in her prom dress! :)

  2. Princess and Queen, indeed,,,,

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  4. Oh, I'm in tears. Maybe because my daughter is seven. I got her a big girls bed ages ago, but she still insists on sleeping in her little toddler bed. And sometimes I squeeze into it with her and spend the whole night curled up with her there.

  5. This brought tears to my eyes. So eloquent and sweet.

    Two years ago my daughter (almost 15) decided she wanted to trade in her "Princess bed" and go for a more grownup look. Her Princess bed was a full sized canopy bed with ivy and white Christmas tree lights entwined in the canopy.

    We are both so sorry now. We both miss the Princess bed.

  6. @glen: Thank you!
    @Corey: I always go to them, even when I'm squished! Hey, want to do a first line last line? I'm all about the contest!
    @Ivankuiken: Thank you so much for reading! I wish her a canopy bed in her future!

  7. You made me awful glad my seventeen year old (but soon to be eighteen) still has a pink room too.

  8. Oh, that is the sweetest post about your daughter. Those words will find their home deep inside her heart, to revisit when she needs to remember.

    You are an incredible mother to your children.

  9. @liza: Thank you. I love that you are still with me after all these years!

    @Sharon: Heartfelt thank you for that compliment. i'll try to remember it later on when I'm yelling! :)

  10. This post is so sweet. It reminds me of certain things I've been attached to since I was small.