I love a good fairy tale as much as the next person. But there is a formula for fairy tales that can be misleading for impressionable minds. The “happily ever after” factor.
Ever after… what?
Because what makes a story magic isn’t the happy conclusion. It’s the unique conflict the protagonist endures. Although the words “happily ever after” are probably programmed in our vocabulary before we can recite the alphabet, it is all of the chaos, strife, laughter, and tears that give it meaning.
Though there is not a well-coiffed villainess/villain or mythical beast to contend with, life does have its share of evil forces in different forms. All we can do is to keep fighting the good fight, teach our children to never give up, and not judge one another. For everyone is battling their own adversary and we cannot know each other’s struggles.
Better than marrying a prince of a fairy tale, I found a warrior. He’s moral, feisty, hilarious, fiercely protective, and does the dishes sometimes. He unquestionably believes in my dreams and gives me the strength to be both a warrior and a princess.
More romantic than gifts on an appointed day, my husband loves me at my worst even harder than at my best, because he knows I need it more then. He surprises me with books I mentioned I wanted to read at unexpected moments and plays football with our daughters so I can have some quiet time to paint. He is as handsome as he is stubborn, helpful, resilient, and there isn’t anyone on earth I would rather write my story with.
Our fairy tale has been tumultuous and beautiful. It has been impossible at times, unbelievably happy at others. We have been up all night with sick babies, barely able to form a sentence much less a romantic interlude. There have been times that we have really, really not liked each other and days we have laughed nonstop. We have gripped each other’s hands while awaiting the fate of our 3-day-old baby in surgery and we have watched that daughter play the lead in her school play at age 8. We have waited until the kids were asleep to break out the new sleds when an unexpected snowfall arrived and we have argued ourselves hoarse.
The story is in the struggle. The life, real life, so much better than the fairy tale. And when it concludes with “Happily Ever After,” I think ours will be a pretty awesome tale.