Today's girls are bombarded with images of princesses. The toy aisles are loaded with crowns, ball gowns, even imitation glass slippers. Clothing is appliqued with "Princess" or studded with a crown. Rooms are decorated for the princess within the hearts of our precious daughters and granddaughters. Many of the Disney movies contain a fairy tale princess...Jasmine, Snow White, Belle, Ariel, Aurora, Cinderella, Mulan, Pocahontas, and a new one that I hear will be debuting in 2009...beginning with "Once Upon a Time" and ending with "Happily Ever After". May I suggest that there's more to the story than beginning and end, prince and princess.
Remember with me the story of Cinderella. Cinderella lives with her wicked stepmother and her two stepsisters. She is treated poorly by those who should be her family after the death of her father. Cinderella attends the prince's ball with the help of a fairy godmother, some mice, and a pumpkin. She loses her glass slipper as she hurries home. The prince searches for the owner of the lost glass slipper, finding his princess...Cinderella, they live happily ever after.
Although, the wicked stepmother is only mentioned briefly, she makes a huge impact. Not only on Cinderella, she impacts all of us who have become stepmothers. There is a reputation to uphold or rather overcome. It is expected that we will act much the same as this wicked stepmother. As I accepted my role as stepmother of three boys, I fought the stereotype tooth and nail. I did not want to be, I was not going to be, I would not, I could not be like the wicked stepmother of Cinderella. It was a constant battle within myself. One false move, and the glass slipper could be broken. It was work!
I remember the first summer that the boys visited with us, the first time that I looked like the wicked stepmother over a box of cereal. The youngest was so angry because I kept the cereal on the top shelf...way out of his reach. I served breakfast every morning so I didn't see the need to move it, but he was used to preparing his own breakfast...Mr. Independent! I was blind to his need because I was trying so hard to be a good stepmother...truth be known, I wanted to be the perfect stepmother. I was trying for the impossible, setting myself up for failure.
I could take the lid completely off of this shoebox of glass slippers and give you a real look at my stepmotherhood. I could, but I won't. To be honest, I made many mistakes. Somethings just don't need to be relived...once was enough...I've asked for forgiveness. Through the tough times, I grew just like the boys. We all learned to adjust and learning is a process.
About a year ago, I had the opportunity to get to know this youngest stepson even better as a young adult. We spent many evenings talking into the wee hours of the morning about life issues, not about the placement of a cereal box...sharing from our hearts....well, I guess I shared from my heart and he listened. I was no longer blind to his needs. I have overcome the shadow of the wicked stepmother.
Recently, this same stepson found himself in a "pickle" and it was a "dill"y of a pickle. I was so honored when he confided in me. He knew that I would ask the hard questions, I would be honest with him, and I would love him. I am his stepmother and he cared what I thought. My heart aches for him as it has for my own children finding themselves in difficult situations. I want him to find his "Happily Ever After". I want his dill pickle to become sweet. I want the very best for him.
Did you know that dill pickles can become sweet? I didn't either, until recently. In fact, I would have thought it impossible, but...it can be done. Try it!
recipe of Estelle Polk
1 jar hamburger dill pickles (medium size jar)
½ to 1 Cup sugar (1 or 2 of those Tupperware scoops)
Drain the pickles. Add the sugar to the pickles and shake to mix the sugar with the pickle slices. Keep in the refrigerator and shake every now and then to mix and dissolve the sugar. It makes its own new juice. For best results, make them a day ahead.
My life is sort of like that jar of pickles. Bear with me....the pickle is me...the brine is sin....Jesus drained away my sin....He added the sweet Holy Spirit.... protected from evil, I've definitely been shook up a few times....God surrounded me with His love....and my life became new.
If the shoe fits, wear it well!