The Dirty Garden Hose
They are EVERYWHERE.
I enjoy a Disney movie every now and then. I bawled my eyes out when I went to see Beauty and the Beast in the theater at seventeen years old, totally embarrassed but devastated when the beast died. I love Belle’s brown hair and yellow dress.
But I’m not sure when every little girl in our country began to identify herself as a Disney princess. And I’m not sure it’s healthy for them.
I was never told I was a princess when I was growing up. I didn’t have princess dresses to play dress up in, didn’t have princesses on my lunch box, didn’t flit around wearing large butterfly wings. I dressed up in my mom’s old clothes and broken twirling tiara, had the Smurfs on my lunch box, and owned nothing ever purposefully created as a costume. I was given physically difficult jobs to do that were much too big for me. I was expected to find a way to make them work.
I’ll never forget the job of untangling and wrapping up the garden hose. I hated that job excessively. I had to take the very long, wet, grassy, dirty garden hose and loop it repeatedly over a metal holder that was attached to the garage wall. My dad wanted the loops to be basically the same size. The hose was too heavy for me and I despised getting dirty while handling it. The metal holder was attached to the wall above my head, so I had to reach up every time I looped it. The job was really too big for me, but I seemed to be the only one who thought so.
One day a man was visiting my dad while I was struggling to put that stupid hose away. He saw me struggling and had compassion on me, offering to help me with it. Relieved and so happy that someone else saw that I was too little to handle that heavy thing, I gladly accepted his offer. But oh no… Dad told the man not to help me. It was MY job and even though it was too big for me, he was trying to teach me something by making me do it anyway.
I wasn’t allowed to grumble out loud about my task, but the stuff that went through my head as I picked that dirty hose back up was surely foul.
Nope. I was certainly no princess.
And I learned something important while dealing with that awful garden hose. I learned that I was capable of more than I thought. A little dirt, grass, and water wouldn’t hurt me because I’m washable. Even though it was hard, I was actually strong enough to do it. My Dad wasn’t being mean; he actually had a reason for what he did.
I’m not planning to forbid princesses in our house, but I’m also not planning to make a big deal of them. I’d like to take our kids to Disney World and to introduce them to fantasy and fiction, but I’ll emphasize the fictional nature of the princesses. I’ll point out the beauty in women who look different from those princesses – women of all shapes, hair lengths, and regular-sized eyes!
I think I’ll also look around for some jobs that are really too big for them.
Even Disney princesses struggle. They just happen to look fabulous while they do it.