Books, Childhood Memories, Personal, Switzerland, Teaching

Princess Hair

Sometimes ali calls me his princess. I read this in emails and smile to myself. I love being his princess. Not because I stamp my foot and get my own way. I am not spoiled. It has nothing to do with these things. It’s an understanding of the word that we each have. And I like it. I like it because, for a few moments, I can exist in a fairy tale. I remember when I was a little girl and my mother bought me a framed picture with “Some day my prince will come…” written above a teddy bear girl holding a frog in the palm of her hand. She wasn’t gearing me towards marriage and finding that man to sweep me off my feet. She too was allowing me a few moments each time I read those words to be in a fairy tale.

I grew up with such a vivid imagination. I made up stories and recorded them on an ancient tape recorder (remember those?). I escaped to my secret spot in the middle of a clearing, trees surrounding me, a deck chair and a book. I became invisible to my brothers at these moments. I would curl up in the green hammock with my ears filled with music and let my mind wander. I played with dolls much too long because they were always acting out scenes from a life I wasn’t living and had dreamt up from somewhere.

Today, I read Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendack, to my students. We allowed our imaginations to dip into a place that we have never been. At the end of the story, many of the kids made comments about how it wasn’t real. “He couldn’t sail away on a ship to where the wild things are and be king of the wild things. It was just a story.” It’s good they know the difference between reality and fantasy but they are only six years old. I wanted to give them permission to stay in that place. That place that will only exist for a little bit longer, because when you grow up, there is no time to escape back to that place, even in books. Everything you read is a reflection of life somewhere.

We spoke about The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe today at lunch in the staff room. A Wrikle in Time. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Fantasy books we grew up with that have become such classics that they are making films about them now. We love outlets for imagination. An escape from reality.

When I woke up today I wanted to do something different with my hair. I parted it down the middle and took a little from the front on each side. I made two braids (plaits?), one on either side and then tied them back into a bun. Princess hair. I opened my morning email from ali and he said that he reread my blogs and saw how unhappy I have been lately and that I deserve to be happy. And, yes, he called me his princess. I left for work a little bit late, with my head in the clouds and music in my ears. I had a smile on my face because I could be a princess all day long today. This hair would be my armour against those awful parents that just can’t get enough. It would be the wand I could wave when I needed one more hour of energy for a meeting that had already gone over an hour. It would be the twinkle that a star leaves behind when it’s on it’s way to another galaxy.