No, I don’t want to chat about your movie Frozen that is warming the princess-loving hearts of little girls the world over. And no, I don’t even want to chat about your catchy jingle “Let it Go” that has spawned spoofs all over the Internet.
I need to chat with you about the momentous change you brought about in my house with one flick of your ice-tossing wrist.
I’m talking about Sophie’s crown.
Sophie had been wearing crowns off and on for a while before a purple crown, given to her by Toni, became a permanent fixture on her head.
She would put it on first thing in the morning, much like I put on my glasses or Ben and Lillian put in their hearing aids. She would wear it regardless of occasion or event. It would stay on her head the whole day, even while we were reading bedtime stories. And then it would get taken off at night and put either on the bookshelf beside her bed so it was waiting for her in the morning, or it would get put up somewhere safe in Mommy and Daddy’s room to avoid getting stolen, or worse, broken by her evil roommate, Lillian.
She wore her crown to the first day of school and every day at school, under her winter toque, while she was painting and learning and playing. Her teachers called her princess. The crossing guard asked her about it daily. She was even Princess Sophie during the church Christmas pageant, wearing her crown on top of her sheep costume.
She was Princess Sophie, without a doubt or hesitation, for months.
And then, you came along, Elsa.
You with your chilly magic and demeanor. You with your adorable sister who just wants to build a snowman with you in the actual snow! You with all of the responsibilities and grief and loneliness that goes into being a broken, orphaned, queen-to-be Disney Princess.
You decided to rebel, to embrace your inner ice princess, to throw caution and summer to the wind and build yourself an ice castle in the mountains. And, while you were at it, you transformed yourself into a hot, long-braided, girl for whom the cold doesn’t bother anyway who doesn’t wear a crown.
Oh, Elsa. You just HAD to throw your crown across your newly-fractaled great room. You just had to decide you were going to let it all go.
I knew the day was coming when Sophie would stop wearing her crown. I understood that she would not go to high school with it, or post-secondary, or even senior kindergarten. I realized that the crown-wearing days were numbered from the moment she started making it part of her everyday.
I wondered how it would end, though. I worried over bullies, peer pressure, or some goofy adult who wouldn’t get it and ask her to stop. I hoped it was a gentle break-up, not a traumatic one. I hoped it would fade without her encountering the ass-holey ridicule that everyone faces as a child at some point. Oh, how I hoped. And prayed.
And then one day, like magic, like Disney magic, she just stopped wearing it. She decided she didn’t want a crown. This was also around the time that she wanted to wear a French braid in her hair instead of the heart-crushingly adorable braided pigtails she had been sporting.
I must have asked her a dozen times that morning if she was sure she wanted to leave the crown behind. Each time she confidently told me that she did indeed want to go to school without it.
I couldn’t figure it out. And I was a little worried. Did someone say something? Did something happen? Did she get in trouble with it? Was she okay?
A week after she stopped wearing it I had an epiphany. Elsa.
It was you, Elsa. You who changed everything. You who inspired a princess to be a princess without her crown.
Lillian had received Frozen as a birthday gift and it had pretty much been on repeat since then. And Sophie decided she wanted to be you. To be the queen. To let it go.
I’m not mad. I’m just…stunned. The movie that finally talks about the fact you shouldn’t marry someone you just met, the movie that gave us the sneakiest villain in recent memory, the movie whose soundtrack plays on a loop in my brain when I’m trying to sleep at night, convinced my oldest baby she didn’t need to wear a crown.
I guess what we need to chat about is how I want to thank you. Thank you for making it a gentle transition. Thank you for not being a bully or a jerk. Thank you for not being a self-esteem crusher, but rather a self-esteem booster. Thank you for picking your true self, making your sister wait to marry, and for singing a song that talks about empowerment instead of dreaming of a prince. Thank you.
But next time, could you give me a little warning? Without her crown, she just looks so darn grown up.