this photo is old and blurry, but i love it. mostly because it was taken by emet, but also, her eyes. and that runny nose!
I was raised on fairy tales of the Disney variety, never thinking twice that the good people at the House of Mouse weren’t actually the ones responsible for those stories. So, naturally, when I discovered the Brothers Grimm, I was a little miffed that ol’ Walt and his team of animators positively bastardized the complexities of the German folklore.
When Emet was born, one of the sweetest gifts I was given was a complete and unabridged collection of the original Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I suppose the only thing more complete would be an untranslated version, but sprechen sie Deutsch I do not. So, English it was, and oh! The language in those stories is just poetic.
It was a few years later, when I was in training to become a Waldorf teacher, that I learned just how important these particular narratives – and the eloquent language contained therewithin – are to young children. The curriculum of the Early Childhood and the First Grade are based entirely upon classic fairy tales and so it was that I decided my children would not bear witness to the animated movies of my childhood. Also, I’m of the media-free childhood persuasion, so it wasn’t really an issue.
As my children have grown, they have indeed been exposed to their fair share of movies and television shows, albeit far less than the average American child. And yet, purely by coincidence, the Disney movies were left unwatched. A few months ago, we were at a restaurant where each of my big kids were given a coloring page. Emet’s was Sponge Bob, and Jade’s was Belle. And while Mr. Squarepants was instantly recognized by the both of them, neither Emet nor Jade could name the princess or the film from whence she came. I felt a little bit proud and a little bit sad, because truly, I loved those movies. LOVED THEM.
So, when my handsome mister called me into his office a week or so ago to show me a trailer he’d come across of a live-action version of Cinderella due to hit theaters this coming Spring, I rolled my eyes a little because, honestly, how good could it be? Only so good that I cried. Not once, not twice, but three times. Every hair on my body was standing on end, and the flutters in my heart told me I had to share this with my daughter.
I will never forget her eyes as she watched, like saucers they were, filled with stars and fairy dust and all the magic I remember from when I was a little girl. In that moment, I knew exactly what I had to do. Why, read her Ashputtel of course, a tale which she’s heard at least a half dozen times.
When Christmas morning came, there was a small package finished with glittering gold ribbon addressed to the youngest maiden of the house. And when she opened it up, she squealed with delight to find her very own copy of Disney’s Cinderella.
To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I saw that movie. I’m almost positive I was Jade’s age, or thereabouts. But when she and I sat down later Christmas day to watch it together, from the moment the first note of the overture sounded, I was mesmerized. I remembered all the songs, all the funny little things the mice say, all the magic. Sharing this film with my beautiful girl, at an age when she is more than ready to appreciate it purely as entertainment, well, it was perfect.
She and I have a date to the movie theatre this coming March, and we are so excited we can hardly stand it!