We finally went to see the live action Cinderella movie with my daughters over the weekend. We love going to see movies in the theater. It is something my husband and I loved to do pre-kids. Nowadays we go a lot less and tend to go mostly to the cheap theater. (It's the same great theater experience but much less money.) This was a movie that was high on our "to see in the theater" list.
So we finally saw the movie and I adored it. And so did my girls.
As most of my readers know, our family is overrun by the female persuasion. My husband went with us to see this very feminine movie with not just me and his 4 daughters but also with another lovely lady added to the mix (a friend of my oldest). While my husband was, let's just say less than thrilled to be hitting the theater for this movie, he put a smile on his face and proudly entered that little room and selflessly helped 6 ladies pile into a row, help me get everyone situated, popcorn passed out, drinks sorted, seats arranged, baby settled, and popcorn refilled (the last two probably more of a joy to escape for just a moment). Once we had all settled and were watching the story unfold I stole a few looks at the row of little ladies I had in my midst and the strong man that was leading the crew.
Honestly, my darling husband would have likely picked any movie to see other than this one or even skipped going altogether except for one thing. That "thing" has him by the heart. It is our second daughter, Sophia. See, this is her favorite movie to watch at home (the Disney cartoon version) and when she found out there would be a live action version she was just floored. Our Sophia is quite the princess. She is always wearing dresses, loves having her hair done, changes outfits during the day to best suit the events of the moment (though I obviously don't like this), loves heels and make-up (which she only gets to wear during playtime), and everything to do with being a princess. She also loves when I get dressed up in "pretty clothes" and she always asks if she can pick out my earrings and if I'm going to wear lipstick (which is apparently the end all be all of the make up world). Her love for the movie is no surprise and her desire to see every single rendition of it is no surprise either.
Sheer excitement cannot even describe how excited she was when I told her we were going...finally. Sophia did not know that her daddy was having second and third and fourth thoughts about going. I was okay with him taking a pass, but he knew how much it would mean to be there for his daughter and so he went. And it wasn't just Sophia he was doing this for. All his girls were excited to see the movie, except maybe the baby. And all three of our girls were just so thrilled to be there...with both parents in tow.
It is the little things like this that my husband does that shows us the love he has for us, that makes all of us feel a little like Cinderella (on the 'happily-ever-after' part of the story). Even something as simple as taking a deep breath, hiding his aversion, and showing excitement for another very girly movie. Don't get me wrong, the man can be maddening. I would never try to say that he doesn't have his moments of pure insanity, we all do. But he definitely is one of the good ones. So good that he doesn't really have a clue how good even though I try to tell him and show him daily. He's always striving to be better, do better. No prince could give more.
To so many my life may not seem like a fairy-tale. We have a small house. Not a I'm-being-modest-our-house-is-really-2500 sq ft or larger house. We have a 1,000 sq ft house. We may not move from this house. Ever. And that's okay. We have a small house and small plot of land that that bank gladly accepts our payments for. We live on less than most people at our stage of life. We rarely take vacations. We rarely go out to dinner. We have debts that sometimes feel so overwhelming we want to give up. In these respects, it sure doesn't seem like happily ever after. But when you really look at my life, when you take the magnifying glass to it...gosh. There is so much more.
What we do have is a happy marriage. Sometimes it's messy. Sometimes we get annoyed. Sometimes we fight, but we always love. We always forgive. We always laugh.
We have a beautiful family that God has so graciously given to our care. Four incredibly individual daughters that keep us on our toes. That are full of challenges and will continue to push their parents to the brink of sanity (or maybe well beyond). But that also make us smile constantly, laugh unceasingly, and make us proud to be parents.
We have family that loves us. They may not always 'get' us but they love us. They respect us. They support us.
We have friends. Friends that are always there for us. That help us grow.
We live in an epically beautiful place. Seriously, we do. And we have all we need. Maybe not all we want all the time, but we always have all we need.
So here I was, watching this movie, crying at the sad parts, the sappy parts, the happy parts (cause I'm a girl and that's what I do) and all the time reflecting on what it meant to be Cinderella. I sure do feel like her sometimes, most of the time.
A while ago I was talking with someone close to me about how much Sophia loved "Cinderella." She told me she'd loved this movie as a child too but she was disappointed when she got older. She was worried that Sophia (and likewise all my girls) would feel that same disappointment. She said that no one ever told her that this was not how real life was. That real life was hard and often did not work out in a neat little bow. She said she felt cheated when she realized that not every girl meets her Prince Charming. That 'happily ever after' was not real.
I paused and thought about what she said and then my story flashed through my mind and I said with a smile, "Well, it is real for her because it's real for her parents. She sees it in them every day. I did meet Prince Charming and I married him."
Here's to happily ever after.