I have a confession to make: I’m obsessed with the royal wedding. I got up early to watch Will and Kate’s wedding, and I’ll probably do the same for Harry and Meghan.

I love fairy tales and I love weddings. When I was young, I dreamed of designing ball gowns for a living. I would even imagine sometimes I was riding in the back of a carriage instead of the backseat of a car, headed toward a handsome prince and a beautiful palace. I think that’s why I’m looking forward to the royal wedding in mere hours (yes, I’m the dork that has a countdown). A real life regular-ish American girl will marry a real life prince and start her life in a palace. Well, in a “cottage” on the grounds of a palace . . . close enough. It’s my generation’s Grace Kelly story.

I’d be jealous, except I have a secret: I’m a princess and I live in a palace. I have a one-story brick palace with a two-car garage I can pull into when it rains, and room for an above ground pool in the backyard (when I muster the energy to set it up). It has a paved driveway where three little princes ride their bikes up and down.

My palace doesn’t have a maid, a butler or a chef. It’s not always clean and almost never spotless. Some nights, we simply have sandwiches for dinner. My ball gowns are yoga pants and baggy t-shirts, and no one on Instagram cares where I buy my shoes (Wal-Mart, for the curious). I start most days with too little sleep, too much coffee and last night’s baseball gear stashed in my minivan. My “elegant updo” of choice is the famous mom bun. My tiara is a headband that perfectly hides the fact I need to wash my hair.

But, despite appearances, this house is a palace. It’s my palace, and I am its princess. I live here with my Prince Charming and our three little princes. An heir, a spare and a “we just couldn’t do without him”. My prince has laugh lines now, and a sprinkling of grey. But he still looks at me as if I was the only woman in the world. As for me, I find he can still brighten any room simply by stepping into it. We may run short on time and money, but never on love or laughter. Or chaos. Or mud.

So, on May 19th, I plan to get up early, curl up on the couch with the biggest mug of coffee in the world and watch Meghan Markle get her fairy tale. Then I’ll turn it off, straighten my tiara headband and run my little princes to baseball games.

Because this is what my fairy tale looks like. It’s filled with love and laughter and two people holding on tight through all the chaos the world can throw at them. Some days I may want a vacation from it, but, truthfully, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s my fairy tale, the one I’m writing for myself, every day. And I hope sometimes, when the cameras aren’t looking, Meghan’s fairy tale looks like mine. With two people holding on tight through the chaos. Filling their days with love and laughter. And maybe even sandwiches for dinner sometimes.

You may also like:

Dear Kate, You Make It Look Easy But You Don’t Have To

My Marriage Isn’t Fair

Why Tired Mothers Stay Up So Late

But Mommy, You Were Too Busy

Want more stories of love, family, and faith from the heart of every home, delivered straight to you? Sign up here! 

I hope sometimes, when the cameras aren’t looking, Meghan’s fairy tale looks like mine. With two people holding on tight through the chaos. Filling their days with love and laughter. #royalwedding #meghanmarkle #princeharry #royals


Shannon Pannell

Shannon Pannell married her childhood sweetheart 16 years ago, and is a stay-at-home mom to three boys, plus one daughter in heaven. She is currently living in North Mississippi, far away from her beloved Virginia beaches; and, despite a BA in English, has just started writing things for non-family (other people) to read. In her spare time, you can find her reading, binge-watching Numb3rs, and enjoying quiet wherever she can find it.