What Cinderella Taught Me….

My two older daughters are four years and one day apart. They both had birthdays last week and every year, I am amazed at how fast they are growing. Having daughters is not anything I specifically planned. I actually thought that I wanted to have all sons. That is, until I realized I didn’t have the constitutional energy to have more than one boy! When I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, I felt that there wasn’t enough xanax to calm my nerves. Then God decided I should have 3 daughters! You know – because I can barely handle my own estrogen levels, why not add three more to the mix! I didn’t know what to do with girls. Sure, I look feminine. But feminine and “girly” are two different things. I don’t do princesses, Barbies, fairytales, pink, lace and ruffles. It’s not in my make-up. I play video games with my son, while my husband sucks it up to be the world’s greatest daddy and sits down and plays tea party with my girls, simply because I can’t get myself to understand why they are playing pretend tea party. And yet, here I am. With three daughters. Three beautiful, strong, kind, intelligent, talented, and faithful daughters.

As my girls get older, and their personalities start manifesting itself through the chaos of what the world tells them, I begin to need that same xanax as I once did when I was pregnant. My oldest daughter turned 9 years old and has a heart of gold, but already finds herself verbalizing insecurities about her physical appearance and talents. My 5 year old, who is turning 20, causes my gag-reflex to go into hyper-drive with how overly-focused and observant she is of every “pretty” girl that she sees, who also happens to be blonde with perfect make-up and red lips,  and who wears clothes that are a little flamboyant for my taste. My anxieties in wanting them to grow up to be ladies who have class and yet, are intelligent, strong, kind humanitarians, and self-sufficient become apparent everytime I see girls acting ridiculously superficial with conversations that lack substance. What is a mother to do when we are fighting all the extraneous variables that are in complete contradiction to what I hope for my daughters? What do I do to keep their current qualities in tack, so they don’t grow older jaded?

Last week, my daughters begged to see the movie Cinderella for their birthdays. I was somewhat reluctant not knowing how much the movie would portray the need for a girl to HAVE a prince to save her and found myself watching the movie, pleasantly surprised. There was a poignant line in the movie that resonanated with me and actually, triggered me personally with all sorts of accountability that I was not expecting.  It is when Cinderella is ready to face everyone, looks in the mirror in all her raggedness and her face full of soot, and the narrator (her fairy godmother) says in the background, “One of the hardest things we can do is allow others to see us as we really are…” Regardless of how Cinderella looked, she kept her shoulders back and her head up, knowing that all she had is what her mother taught her – she had courage and kindness.

We are bombarded by the superficiality of what we are wearing, how physically fit we are, whether our hair and make-up is just perfect, etc. etc. And, although I want my children to be healthy and present themselves well, more than anything, I want them to have courage to allow others to see them for who they are inside and not what they are. And, if people are not able to do so and my daughters experience the nastiness of girl drama, my hope is that they are still able to show kindness. However, they will not learn this on their own. They will learn this from me. Unfortunately, I have not been able to look in the mirror and be brave enough to allow others to see me in my raggedness and filled with soot. I have not been able to show kindness when I am faced with nastiness. My daughters know that I most likely would have punched those two evil step-sisters in the face and then some!! Yet, this is what I want for my daughters. Thus, it looks like I have some work to do. Who knew that Cinderella would have taught me something?

I can't help but think that maybe this should be the Cinderella we envision, as opposed to her in her beautiful princess ballgown.
I can’t help but think that maybe this should be the Cinderella we envision, as opposed to her in her beautiful princess ballgown.


Charise Casiano

About Charise Casiano

Charise obtained her BA degree at California State University, Stanislaus and immediately pursued her MS degree at Mount Saint Mary’s College. During her college years, Charise left for one year to do missionary work. She traveled the United States troubleshooting with teenagers.