Friday, October 17, 2008

The Big Promise of Little Lights


On cold nights or after busy days, I can't resist reading in the dark by book-light and it's especially irresistible during a thunderstorm.

Tonight, I shut off the light in the girls' room and curled up with Devyn in her bunk bed. I had my favourite book-light -- yes, I have a collection -- and we read two chapters of Enchanted: A Dream Come True.

I actually don't mind the 'princess phase' that seems to have taken hold of many five-year-old girls. I think it's cute and probably necessary and I think every girl deserves to feel like a princess. Everyday, Devyn dons her princess gown (complete with its own music) and shoes and behaves like a princess.

And I'm reminded of A Little Princess:

Her trick of pretending things was the joy of her life. She never spoke of it to girls she was not fond of. Her new "pretend" about being a princess was very near to her heart, and she was shy and sensitive about it. She had meant it to be rather a secret, and here was Lavinia deriding it before nearly all the school. She felt the blood rush up into her face and tingle in her ears. She only just saved herself. If you were a princess, you did not fly into rages. Her hand dropped, and she stood quite still a moment. When she spoke it was in a quiet, steady voice; she held her head up, and everybody listened to her.

"Sometimes I do pretend I am a princess. I pretend I am a princess, so that I can try and behave like one." (Frances H. Burnett)

Unlike Sara, Devyn doesn't have to defend herself: her peers like princesses and playing dress-up and they will just as easily change into Spider-man costumes, girls and boys alike.

(I'm not as comfortable with her collecting-dead-bugs phase as specimens for study but I'm glad she's going through it. I'm trying to overcome my squeamishness.)

But I've digressed.

All this is to say that I'm hoping that I've bestowed a gift upon my little girl. We've read every night since she arrived but tonight it was as if I had admitted her to a secret club or shown her something little-known-but-spectacular about the universe.

I hope that the promise of being able to curl up in the dark with a little light and a fascinating book stays with Devyn for the rest of her life. And, yes, I hope she continues to feel like a princess, too.

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