Once Upon A Time

12-26-15

Dear Fidget,

Today, we are going to do things a bit differently. I figured like any child you would love a good Christmas story. As you grow, you will certainly hear many fairytales, stories of villians and heroes, grandiose acts of bravery and courage, and no doubt, many of them will begin with once upon a time…..so tonight, I would like to start with your very first fairytale.

Once upon a time, in a land far away, lived a beautiful blonde haired princess. Unlike most female characters in a storybook, this princess wasn’t one to play the damsel in distress, nor was she one for awaiting a prince charming to rescue her….she was more of the type to pave her own path, carve out her own journey and find her own destiny. The trouble with this particular princess, is that she spent her whole life saving everyone else, and far too little time allowing herself to be saved. In time you will see that this was not only her greatest quality but also her Achilles heel.

She spent her days, working her nine to five (plus often a second job to make ends meet), toiling in the barns, mucking out stalls, talking to her horses,  and at night she would crawl into bed too weary to contemplate what was missing in her life. There would be many a suitor to come knocking upon her door…..and more than one would inch their way into her life. These suitors, were all unworthy of the love the Princess Mary Ann had to offer….but the fatal flaw is she would care for them anyways. She was known to love the unlovable because if she didn’t who else would? Endless hours she would spend trying to mend their brokenness only to find that no matter how tirelessly she worked to repair them, the further she would be from her own happiness. And so the story goes, Mary Ann would love a few undeserving “suitors” and in doing that she would sacrifice her happiness.

The tragedy of love is that it is something of great power, it can put you on top of the world, my sweet Fidget, but in the wrong hands it can bury you under it’s weight. Luckily, Princess Mary Ann, wasn’t one to wallow in self-pity, and she always managed to dust herself off and continue on…However, that isn’t to say that it wasn’t with a scar or two upon her heart, it wasn’t heartache for herself that she hurt the most for but more for the few men she had left behind. No amount of love, or compassion could save these men from their destiny. They were in fact, their own worst enemies, and sometimes even a heroine cannot rescue someone who is determined to self-destruct.

On she trudged, into each day, always living and loving for someone else. The truth is, I don’t think she was ever truly in love with any of these suitors, instead she simply loved them as it was her nature. It was never the earth-shattering, life-altering, breath-taking love that she had read about as a young girl. In her mind, she was happy with her life, she worked, she spent time with her beloved pets, and love was very overrated. Did I mention, our princess was a bit of a realist…and a little pessimistic when it came to matters of the heart? In her mind who needed the butterfly, firework, heart racing kind of love? It was nothing more than a fable, this concept of in love and all those crazy notions…Her relationships were a means to an end, a convenience, a business arrangement…….and for a time that was enough, until it wasn’t.

One day she awoke and was no longer content with simply being one half of a couple. She found in the end that a relationship where you couldn’t see a forever was a waste of time, and she decided that she was content to for once love herself enough to know it was okay to let go. And so she did, she let go of all the hurt and baggage and the people that had pulled her down with their own flaws…She shook it off, all the disappointment, the wasted time and energy she had spent on unworthy relationships….and she did something amazing. She told herself it was time to simply love herself enough not to settle. Unlike many female characters you will read about, she didn’t melt into a puddle of despair, bitterness didn’t overtake her heart. No, this princess, she lived with no regrets, grateful to have been able to love the unlovable even for a short time because she could sleep better knowing their lives had experienced love and it had been their choice not to accept it.

Now, in another land, her sister Princess April, ever the fretting type…..worried relentlessly about her little sister. Princess April….whew she was a whole different type of character. Yes, she was the hopeless romantic, the believer of happily-ever-afters, the head-in-the-clouds…She watched from afar as her sister loved what she classified as undeserving…..but she watched in amazement as her sister left a mark on each one of them, forever changing them before moving on. She supposed her sibling had a great gift…….a heart that could love the unlovable. Also, from her view point, that very same heart was impenetrable, not willing to be loved, fearing it would never receive the love it was capable of giving. So, Princess April, prayed, begged, and pleaded with the good Lord above to send a knight in shining armor for her sister, not to save her, but to walk beside her. Not to rescue her but to embrace her and help her carry the weight of life.

Princess April, knew that it would take an exceptional man to take down the walls of her sister’s heart. Patience wasn’t one of the older sister’s strong suits, but she waited. From the moment Princess Mary Ann was born she was something to behold. Only a sister can see all the things you do not see in yourself. Throughout their childhood, April would watch her younger sister defeat the odds time and again. Everything Mary Ann did she did wholeheartedly, no holds barred, and she always got what she wanted. Determination lit up her blue eyes, and her smile could light up the darkest night. Beautiful was an understatement when defining Mary Ann. She wasn’t just pretty in the ways that makes people glance her way, she was breathtaking in the way she had no idea how beautiful she was. She was exotic in the way that her beauty lured you in, captivated you, held you hostage, made you want to just bask in her presence, and each moment with her was a rare gift. Those who met her loved her, and those she loved…..well they were transformed by the love she gave them.

Her hair was liken to spun gold, capturing the sunlight as it bounced in the breeze atop the back of horse. Her eyes, if you stared in them long enough you would become entranced with the depths of those blue oceans. And that smile, oh that smile, it was such a treasure that anyone would seek only to find a way to be sure that it would stay affixed upon her lovely face. The sound of her laughter was the most magical sound in the world, although she shared it more freely with her cherished buckskin, Dallas, than with the human race. Princess April, would often go to the barns with her sister, not for her skill with the large creatures but to stand in the shadows to hear the lilt of Princess Mary Ann’s laughter. That sound could right every wrong in the world. Her voice, soft, reassuring, confident, could calm the most skittish horse on a stormy night. Her hands with her long and slender fingers, could run down the sinewy back of a distraught mare and it would instantly relax. Her perfectly sculptured face would flush with joy as she spoke in hushed tones to Dallas. In her presence a person forgot to listen to what she was saying because they were too busy hearing the ebb and flow of her voice coming like waves lapping on the shore taking with it any worries. That voice had calmed Princess April while she labored to bring her daughter into the world, it was the only thread that tethered her to the world, reminding her of the gift that was yet to come…. Perhaps, it is a sister thing but April thought there was nothing cuter in the whole world than when Mary Ann got riled up, even when she had been on the receiving end of her sister’s fury, she would have to hide a grin as she watched a pout rest upon Mary Ann’s lips.

As time went on and the princesses grew up and moved out, their love never wavered, the love of a sister is like that….never-ending. So, that brings me to the best part of the story, Fidget….I wasn’t there but I have it on good sources the day came that Princess April’s worries would be cast away by a knight named Kevan. He didn’t enter the story on the back of some valiant steed…….he walked in, in his very laid back style, and in that instant, Princess Mary Ann’s world tilted on an axis. It was apparent in the way she said his name, the way she spoke of him with the hint of laughter apparent in her voice……well, she was positively giddy. Princess April got quite the kick out of seeing this side of her always realistic sister. Nothing besides her horses had ever made her face light up with so much life, and blush with so much love that it couldn’t contain it all and so it spilled out into a smile upon her gorgeous face. I do not know how is possible but she somehow became even more radiant……even more stunning…..she was in love!

Knight Kevan, was like so many others, captivated with Princess Mary Ann. She was afterall, quite easy to love…and it was probably impossible to spend any amount of time with her and NOT love her….she was annoying that way. But something about the way he loved her, the never vulnerable, realistic, logical Mary Ann…….well his love transcended that facade she put up and she became a veritable giddy, butterflies-in-the-belly, starry-eyed, happy-go-lucky, nothing-can-touch-my-happy girl. Now, this may not seem like a big deal to the common story reader….but it was quite something to behold. I have never known a love to visibly change someone, until this love story. If ever there was a true love, Princess Mary Ann and the great Knight Kevan, well they had that something special, once-in-a-lifetime kind of love. They perfectly complimented each other, never taking anything from the other, but somehow enhancing what was already there…..The love between those two was tangible, words need not be said because you could feel it radiating from them. All the cracks in her heart were cemented over when he loved her, and the pure, and gentle way he loved her, that was enchanting in and of itself. His green eyes hinted with a mischief, and he was just tall enough to tower over her but not in a way that would cast her in the shadows. Instead it lifted her up, this love he shared with the princess. His intelligence intrigued her, challenging her and the princess sure loved a challenge. His spontaneous spirit was perfectly matched for her adventurous one. They both had this brilliant smile that could possibly blind you…yup, can you believe it? The oh-so-realistic princess, had become the smitten, sappy, love-stricken girl.

Then the day came that Knight Kevan asked her to be his wife……there truly was never a more perfect match in all the world. They were made for one another. They had become the definition of happily ever after. The old Princess Mary Ann would have scoffed and called it “mushy nonsense,” or labeled it as “lovey dovey stuff,” but the in-love version of her looked positively content in this new found status. Don’t tell Princess Mary Ann, but Knight Kevan is very good at taking care of her without her realizing. He is to her all the cliche’ things she had thwarted before…..he is the half that makes her whole, the sunshine in the rain, the shelter in the storm, all of those sweet things that would normally have made Princess Mary Ann grimace in agony at the sugary sweetness of it all…..the very things her sister, Princess April had always wanted for her….and she watched from afar, and giggled to herself as she witnessed her sister shine and bask in the love of a man who finally deserved her heart.

Well, in case you didn’t guess it by the names, this very special couple is your mommy and daddy, Fidget. How did you luck out to be created by two amazing beings? I mean, I do not know how you could possibly be anything but perfect. I hope you have a strong stomach for lovey dovey, because you are going to bare witness to a lifetime of it, and I can almost see you grimacing from inside the womb. (perhaps, you got that logic, don’t do mushy stuff from your mom) For all the awkward moments you will watch as your dad unexpectedly kisses your mom for no reason other than she is adorable, or  when you walk into them slow dancing with no music in the kitchen. Perhaps, you will roll your eyes at the way your mommy stares lovingly at your daddy when he is not looking, or gasp you are forced to watch as your dad puts his hand protectively on her knee as they drive down the road…well, your aunt, “Princess April” will be sitting on the sidelines giggling and praying with all her might that you got her sappy gene because if not you are in for it. All joking aside, Fidget, I want you to take in these little moments, no matter how queasy it makes you, no two people were more destined than your parents. If you are a girl, this is the kind of love I want you to find……the kind of love your father gives your mother. If you are a boy, take note, for this is the way to which I measure you as a man and the way I expect you to love. Until then please keep your eye rolls, gag faces, and sighing loudly at your very happy parents to a minimum. I know, that children find it gross to see their parents loving each other…….but from where I stand it is that love that gave us you, and for that I am eternally grateful. This is the part where they live happily ever after Princess Mary Ann, Knight Kevan and you, Sir/Madam Fidget….and of course your very own narrator Princess April. If you ever need a break from the glow of their smiles, and their “adorable to the point of ridiculous” presence…….well, you can always come to your aunt’s house where we keep the sap to a bare minimum 😉 You are lucky kid, never forget that! In the meantime, try not to give your parents a hard time they both deserve a happily ever after more than anyone else I know…

Love you a bushel and a peck,

Aunt April (I am resigning the princess status upon completion of this fairytale)

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