It was a yellow peignoir, and I felt so grown up. I was barely six and pretended I was a princess or a beauty pageant contestant when I put it on.
Jumping on my parent’s bed, twisting, and twirling. I was Snow White, and I could safely dream about my happily ever after. A tall, dark, and handsome charmer would bestow a gentle kiss on my lips and sweep me away.
Someday, my prince will come. Someday, we’ll meet again. And away to his castle we’ll go, to be happy forever I know.
After many toads, there was a dance (not a ball) and a well-dressed man who approached me. I slowly saw the potential in the relationship, and we set forth together, eager to pursue our dreams.
Two years later, we exchanged vows . . . “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.”
That autumn day, there were plenty of kisses as I twirled in my lace organza Eve of Milady gown. Later, it was a white negligee, ironically virginal for a 30-year-old bride. My groom was neither tall or dark, but he was handsome and had a certain charm about him. So, I exchanged the wedding gown for a nightie, and we began our adventure as husband and wife.
Exhausted from the wedding celebration and facing a 6 a.m. plane flight, we settled in for the night, yet neither of us felt any different . . . should we have? I had no regrets, just a pang of disappointment that my subconscious was betraying me.
Still, we set forth, anticipating our happily ever after.
In the beginning, there were hopes and dreams of kids, a house, and a future filled with prosperity and success. Evenings spent together, enjoying each other’s company. Movies, dinners, and trips to the beach. No distractions, a united front. Bonded together to face any obstacles.
I ignored some signs—family interference, entitlement issues, and an inability to manage personal responsibility. We pushed on, checking off the boxes of our shared life plan—a home, a baby, and then another. With baby two, I felt the small cracks in the armor.
My fairy tale was becoming a tall tale, but I kept fantasizing that I could fix it.
I’d do more, and you’d be grateful, supportive, and complimentary. We were a team.
Slowly the time spent together became less frequent. Eventually, there were three kids, jobs, and family obligations. It was easier to stay home and watch television. Money was tight, and nerves were frayed. The lingerie was pushed to the back of the drawer and the twirling ceased. I was now Cinderella, with no hope of being reunited with my glass slipper.
In the dark of my bedroom, I no longer dreamed of happily ever after. It was too hard to imagine. Despite hopes and dreams and three beautiful children, I saw sadness and disappointment. The loneliness of living with a man who no longer resembled my groom. The disappointment that we lost our way and were living parallel lives.
When we actually talked, the conversation was forced and mostly revolved around the kids, work, and his innumerable health problems. He found solace in his cell phone, drums, and time spent on individual activities. I was left to carry the load—emotionally, financially, and physically. The few meals, shopping trips, kid’s ballgames, or couples’ activities we shared ended in squabbles.
I was withdrawn. Avoiding friends, family, and him. The arguments became more frequent and the shared activities were non-existent. There were no vacations, date nights, or sexy nighties.
Just dashed dreams of growing old together.
The alternatives were scary, so each of us continued to look the other way until it became unbearable. I could no longer hide my discontent. My positivity was gone and so was my charming mate. So was the optimism I carried deep in my heart from decades before.
The signs were there and plainly clear.
I had to admit we no longer cared about each other’s feelings. We didn’t do anything together anymore, and our priorities had changed. We could no longer resolve conflicts in a constructive way. Our spats had evolved into full-fledged fights when I was forced to retreat out of emotional safety.
We were staying together for the wrong reasons, and it was time to let go. Not of my visions for a happily ever after, but of ours.
With that decision, I had to remake my thoughts and dreams.
At that moment I began to focus on what was right for me and slowly begin to recapture the enthusiasm and unbridled confidence exhibited by my 6-year-old self.
There is a Prince Charming out there. He’s probably tall, graying (or bald), and maturely handsome. He’s out there looking for a lady who will twirl around in a flowing nightgown with unabashed optimism.
Make a wish into the well, that’s all you have to do. And if you hear it echoing, your wish will soon come true.