I have long held princess tendencies…some good…some leaning on the spoiled brat side. The good parts of being a princess have come in handy in the boy department…I was always taught that I should be treated like a princess. My father loved me well – and taught his 3 daughters that any man in our lives must live up to a similar standard.
The spoiled brat side of my princess persona most likely just comes from the fact that I’m a girl – a girl who knows what she wants. And as is true for most girls, I often fantasized when I was little that every wish was my command – isn’t that what makes being a princess so great?
Yeah, the tiara is cool and so are the ball gowns…but what I’ve always really wanted was a fairy godmother or at least a butler that will come at the ring of a bell…
It is this princess mentality that caused me to run away from home.
Yes, I was a runaway.
When I was 5.
It was an evening in the summer and my sister and I had been playing outside all day. No doubt we were likely playing fairy princess with the neighbors or our other favorite pretend game – grocery store (we just loved to pretend to slide those items across the table and listen to them beep!) Well, it was time to go to bed (at least that is what my mother said). And I was not happy about this turn in events – I needed to finish getting ready for the ball or at least ring up a total for the grocery customers! I had things to do – people to play with…bikes the ride…ice cream to eat…a prince to find! But when my mom told Leslie and I to come inside we begrudgingly obliged.
What transpired next are events that I will never forget. My mother took one sniff of us and demanded that we get into the bathtub. I didn’t particularly want to take a bath, but what really upset me was the fact that she said it was too late to take our own baths – I must get into the bathtub with my 3-year old sister.
I was shocked…furious…defiant. I might be willing to stop playing princess, but I would not stoop so low as to fully remove my tiara and take a bath with my maid (Leslie always got the bad parts in our games – sorry Les). My mother looked at me with a sigh – this was not the first of my defiant moments…she was familiar with my ways. She calmly stated that I was to get in the bathtub immediately and then go to bed.
Standing in my birthday suit glancing at my 3-year old sister playing innocently in the water, I decided that this was the time to make my stand. I put my clothes back on and returned to my room. Leslie asked where I was going, and I told her that I was going to live with Mama Jo.
Yes, I thought to myself. Mama Jo. She understood me – she would never force me to take a bath with Leslie. And as I thought about this prospect I saw donuts, candy, late night television, and freedom dance through my head. It was perfection – why had I not thought about this before? Mama Jo let us have ANYTHING we wanted – her house would be like living in a castle with…dare I say it…a fairy godmother!
So, I marched to my closet and grabbed my trusty suitcase. I fit the essentials of gonga (my stuffed monkey), underwear, and some lip gloss into my trusty tote and headed towards the door. I loudly screamed good-bye and slammed the door behind me – weren’t they going to try to stop me? Hmph…it’s their loss.
I headed out on my own – excited at the truly princess life that awaited me. I walked to the end of the block, only to meet a dilemma...I WASN’T ALLOWED TO CROSS THE STREET. I stood there for a few minutes weighing my options and decided to see what was around the corner…
And with that I walked around my block.
Completely around 1 city block until I found myself walking back in front of my house. And there were my parents (now that I’m adult, I’m pretty sure that they were following me the entire time)...
Waiting…waiting on me with open arms.
I burst into tears as I fell into their arms.
This would always be better than any princess life…even a life with unlimited donuts.
We walked back into the house arm in arm and I was greeted by my wet-haired sister who was also happy to see I had returned. As my mom drew me a fresh bubble bath she explained that although I could take my own bath tonight, I would not always get my way. I might be a princess, but I was her princess…and that meant I had to live by the rules of her castle.
How many times have I packed a suitcase and walked away from God? There was the time that He told me to let go of a boy and I was not ready. There was the time that He asked me to forgive that person who had wounded my heart and I wanted to hold onto my pain. And there have been those times when the comforts of this world…the Mama Jo’s so to speak…just looked better than my reality – those are the most often times that I’ve decided to go my own way.
And yet, because of the foundations that were laid in my heart as a child, God has graciously allowed me to see when I’m getting to a street…and I rarely cross it. I know that it is safest back in His arms – even if I don’t always get my princess preferences.
PS – Mama Jo passed away when I was 15 – she was a fairy grandmother – she blessed my life…and I miss her.