A few months ago, my daughter and I were on a rare mother-daughter trip to the grocery store. It was a sunny day. The first signs of spring were in the air. I could tell by the onslaught of sneezing I experienced when I opened the window. “Salud, Mami” she said, which means, "Bless you". I looked at the rear view mirror to say, “Gracias, mi amor” (thank you, my love) and those ocean blue eyes smiled back at me. She’s growing up so fast! Caught up in the moment, I told her that her 4th birthday was coming up, and we needed to start planning her celebration. I asked her what she wanted her birthday party theme to be. Her smile was brighter than the sun! Her witty response was another question and asked me which princess was my favorite. I wanted to tell her for the fifteenth time that I did not like princesses, but I thought it best to discuss which one she liked, just to please her.
There it was again, the question I have been avoiding for months! I gotta admit, the whole princess thing was too much for me. I mean, pink is not really my color, either! Maybe it’s because I was the only girl raised among three boys. Maybe it’s just because of how my Barbie world had G.I. Joes and WWF Wrestlers all in the mix. Maybe it’s because I was not raised to value exterior beauty above character (Thanks Mom!). I am not an outward girly girl. So, when I imagined myself raising a girl to be a strong woman, I thought I could strategically avoid all princess stuff and be just fine. But, we all know that’s impossible, right?
Before my daughter was born, Mami (my mom) bought a 5-minute princess storybook, with all the Disney Princesses! The book is in pristine condition because it happens to be my daughter’s favorite book. And it is there and only in those pages that my daughter was introduced to the princess world. My point is that I could not avoid the princess propaganda, but most importantly I needed to confront my own princess phobia. Yes, phobia. I call it a phobia now because I could never fully explain why princesses where… well, not womanly enough for me.
I did not know that when I rejected the fluffy dresses, pink galore, hourglass figures, and fairytale love stories, I was also, in a subtle way, rejecting the idea of a woman representing her people, of a crown, of royalty, of that princess being prepared to one day reign as queen. Then I realized… if my daughter insisted on being a princess, then I must be the queen that prepares her to reign with love.
Needless to say, in the process of planning her birthday party, I unlearned my princess phobia and fully embraced the idea of raising a queen. And in the most nostalgic and Godly kind of way, I remembered the only time in my childhood where I dressed up as a queen. Our Children’s Ministry Director, Maria Cortes was AWESOME! She wrote a play called, “A Journey Through the Bible” and my role was Queen Esther. I wore a beautiful lace dress and had one line and to this day, guess what??? I remember my line! I remembered Queen Esther! The scenes of our play walked out of a huge cardboard Bible. My job was to have a clear, loud voice, and walk out of the Bible and say, “And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” (Esther 4:16).
Queen Esther effectively interrupted the mass genocide of her people by this brave act. She risked her own life by breaking laws of the king’s court because she understood that she had “come to [this] royal position for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). Queen Esther clothed herself with righteousness, bathed herself in oils that anointed her for this moment, prayed and fasted collectively with her people to confront injustice against her family and her nation. She was favored by God to win the favor of the king whom crowned her as his queen. She was lovely, yet brilliant. She was royalty, yet humble. She was beautiful, yet brave.
And it occurred to me, “What’s wrong with raising a queen?”
Nothing. There is absolutely nothing wrong raising a queen! Are we not royalty? Are we not daughters of the King of Kings? (1 Peter 2:9)
I was called out of darkness into light for such a time as this. For such a time as it takes to raise a princess to be the kind of Queen that loves God and loves people. In a time like this God chose that I be the mother that raises a mighty queen in the Kingdom of God.
By the way, we celebrated her 4th Birthday Cinderella Style! My husband even dressed up as her Prince Charming (because he said no one else can be that right now!), I was the Fairy Godmother, and my son, well… he was the little mouse, Gus. She absolutely loved it and I absolutely learned one more reason why having a daughter is one of the greatest blessings a mother can have.
Judy is a mother of a vibrant little girl and a rambunctious little boy, a wife to a pastor and a woman looking to help women feel like they belong. She is a nerd at heart, loves reading and writing almost as much as she loves cafe, but not nearly as much as she loves Jesus.