Thursday, December 29, 2016

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

I was once told in my young, teen-ish days that I looked like Princess Leia. I considered the compliment wildly inaccurate. But still, it was nice to hear. Carrie Fisher who was Princess Leia has passed away. But, I’d like to add my voice to the chorus--specifically what she did for girls (and writers) everywhere.

Before Princess Leia, most princess characters were fluffy, frivolous and in desperate need of rescuing. Leia Organa turned that trope on its head. Born into royalty, Leia became a general. And, over the 39 years of Star Wars, Fisher showed those in the industry that a tough little girl who can take care of herself (thank you very much) actually resonated with movie goers worldwide. She became a perennial hero. Also due to talented writers, gritty female protagonists who made the most of their horrible situations were often box office smashes.

I'm sure this archetype inspired the writing of Disney’s movies. Heroines like “Belle” of Beauty & the Beast chose a more noble path than most characters who came before her. Like Princess Leia they chose the better path, resisted when necessary. They put themselves on the line for those they loved. They fought with brains and guts and sometimes weapons. These female characters who took chances and endured the consequences without bawling for a knight in shining armor are the types of characters to whom every girl can relate. 

Besides being an actress and a writer, Carrie Fisher was called in to be a script doctor. These wizards of words were called upon by industry executives to take a screenplay and/or script and polish the piece until the director (and everyone else) is happy. She was rarely credited for any work she did in this regard.

Fisher, was also a mother, as was her character, Leia. Both the woman and the character played a rather hands-off role in the raising of their children--for a variety of reasons. There's no telling if this was a good decision. I won't make excuses for Carrie Fisher, but I know she battled addiction. 

Fisher’s tough princess gives a lot of us non-princesses a role we can aspire to. Not the cleanest, mother of the year, glamour queen, but a real, down-to-earth broad, who admitted her frailties and sins and challenged herself to get better, be better. It’s the least any hero can do.

Relax Mommies, you've got this.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Why my kid?

 They wouldn't let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games!

  Aw, who needs 'em anyway...

There will be a time as a mom when you'll see your child getting the short end of the stick.

There are many children who excel in academics, sports, the arts--you name it. But there are just as many who don't. Chances are, your child may be one of the ones not picked for basketball. Your child may be bullied for being bad at sports, mocked for having a lisp, called stupid for failing math; left out of the reindeer games.

It won't feel so good. You'll have to stand by and watch your child not do well in things. It may range from the silly--being laughed at for not coloring in the lines or the serious--being diagnosed with autism.

You may be tempted to protect your child, to remedy the situation. But as painful as these situations are, they are life lessons. It's your chance to teach your child, she may not succeed at everything she tries. But she is still valuable and lovable. Remind her every day how special and irreplaceable she is. It never gets old to be told you're one of a kind. She doesn't need perfect A's in English to be a great kid.

If she's mocked, tell her she doesn't need to retaliate, she can ignore the bullies and move on. Some of the most painful things she may hear can come from peers or teachers or siblings.

An insult may be only temporary but it can last a lifetime. We tend to hang on to hurts. Help her deal with them now before she grows up. Without balance and forgiveness, a hurt child can grow into bitter adult.

Relax mommies, you've got this.