Once Upon a Time

It has not been a great morning.  The family is sick.  The boy and girl are restless, the mother is tired.  All three are still wet, from the morning swimming lesson none of them really wanted to take.  The boy and girl sit on a bench in a change-room, damply disappointed in their mother.  She’s been forgetful, lately.  The juice they were counting on after getting out of the pool is on a shelf in the refrigerator, at home.  The snacks their mother usually packs are still in their places in the pantry.  Their mother offers apologies, but even at 2 and 5, they know resignation when they hear it.  She’s close to giving up, pleads with them to just be quiet, let her get dressed.


“Why don’t you just distract your sister?  Please?”


He could say, “NO!”.  He could jump up and down, amusing himself.  He could ignore her, her selfishness.


Instead he turns, faces his whining sister.


He holds her small head in his hands, gently.  Looks into her eyes.


“Once upon a time, there was a princess.  She was a beautiful princess, but she was smart, too.  One time, her and her brother, the prince, went on a ride…”


The mother turns away.  The selfless gesture of this child has taken her breath.  She can tell that the whining girl has stopped, become still, is in the story with her brother.  She tries not to make herself part of their moment, and yet greedily relishes it at the same time.


“Again! Again!”  the girl shrieks, when the brother finishes.  The mother whispers her thanks to the boy. 


As they leave the change-room, the brother takes his sister aside.  “Hey! Did you know that the princess was actually you?”.  She smiles up at him, nods.  They hold hands, and walk out.  Their mother is happy that neither looks back, that she doesn’t have to explain why she’s crying.


35 responses to “Once Upon a Time

  1. Sweetest. Story. Ever.
    That puddle over there? My melted heart.

  2. Your story is very sweet! God is so good to us to give us tenderhearted moments in the midst of all the madness!

    Love in Christ,

    Andrea http://www.phenomenaltruths.wordpress.com

  3. Beautiful writing! Beautiful relationship between brother and sister! That little boy is going to make a fine young man if he keeps this up! He’s gonna make his mommy proud!

  4. What a PRINCE your SON is!!!

  5. Woman. You sure do know how to blow somebody’s bad attitude. Thanks!

  6. That is like, the cutest shit ever. Why am I not surprised you were able to raise a son with imagination and heart?

  7. ginny, hope your day got better. your children are the sweetest. sure you don’t wanna trade??

  8. that is aweeeeeesome. I might want to have kids now.

  9. Oh my gosh. I don’t even have kids yet, and I got tears in my eyes… Adorable!

  10. That is the sweetest story I’ve heard in a long time.

  11. What a cool kid. Had he seen The Bridge to Terabithia lately? The same sorta thing happens at the end of that movie.

    He’s a budding communicator, no?

    Cry all you want, mom. You done good . . .


  12. Oh dude. This makes me wish I’d been like that with my brother. Instead I was more likely to try to drown him. Ahh, memories.

  13. Geez. Thanks. I just burst into tears. (smile)

  14. That is a very touching story. I look forward to the day when my 3 1/2 yr-old and 1 1/2 yr old can interact so lovingly! They are more sporadic with their gentle-loving kindness right now. 🙂

  15. michael.offworld

    That conversation we sort of started and then ended just as quickly in the stairwell last week? Remember? There is no difference. You see? Writing is writing.


  16. Oh my god, that made me bawl. Why is my uterus ticking so loudly?

  17. Makes me wish I had more than one kid…. Okay, well not really. Our first-born is perfect in every way (except the ways in which he isn’t). So we quit while we were ahead…. 🙂

    Glad to hear the changing room has become a better place than last time we heard about it!

  18. Awwww that’s sweet!!!!

    Unfortunately if I tried that, my older son would take his younger brother’s face tenderly in his hands, then yell in that face ‘CAN’T YOU SEE WE’RE DRIVING MOM INSANE!!! NOW CUT IT OUT!!! – or she’ll sneak out and leave us with the cleaning crew again!!!’ And then he’d most likely pop him over the head with his swimming goggles and a flipper! 😉

    Can I have your kids instead? ;-p

  19. Talea: Thank you 🙂

    Andrea: Welcome, and while I have too many questions to automatically attribute the moment to “Christ”, I agree that these moments are gifts.

    Arynsmom: Thank you so much.

    Derfina: Welcome! Sometimes, not so much, but at that moment, yes.

    Mongoliangirl: I do what I can… 🙂

    Rassles: Um, I also seem to have raised a son who shakes his fist at innocent stray cats. But whatever.

    Gina: It did get better. Then it got worse. But at least I had this to hold onto.

    Blink: I’ll try to be more clear in the future, maybe use some names, or maybe some diagrams. How do you feel about flow charts? 😉

    Bluestreak: It CAN be fun. It’s also fricking tiring – get sleep now, if you’re even considering reproducing.

    Katie: Thanks 🙂

    Sue: Every now and again, I try not to be such a sarcastic bitch 😉

    Brian: Ooooh! I’m so running out to rent that. I adored that book, and when he’s a little older, I think the boy will, too.

    Captain Steve: Oh, they have more than their share of “I’m gonna KILL you!” moments – which makes ones this like this all the more noteworthy.

    Sulya: You’re welcome, dahling!

    Gigi: They absolutely get better at it as they get older. They also get more devious, so it’s a bit of a wash…

    Billy: Thanks. Not all of us have Blair Witch turkey stories to share… (everyone, folow Billy’s link, go to his site. It amuses me greatly.)

    Michael: I’m trying to convince myself. Till then, I’ll just keep plugging away.

    Emerald: Tell your uterus to chill! (But if you are going to listen to it, for god’s sakes, have a baby here in Canada. Waaay cheaper.)

    Writinggb: I was quite serious when I told my husband I wanted to wait 18 years between kids, make SURE the first one turned out good.

    Kim: Don’t be fooled. This is not the norm. They know they have to throw me a day like this, every now and again, as self-preservation.

  20. That was wonderful. Your blog appeared in my Reader and I liked the title, so popped over to check it out. Lovely writing. Precious image of the children.


  21. Does he yell “curses” too? Oh, if so you’re the Best Mom Ever.

  22. Damn you anyway….


  23. That was so very sweet.

  24. Dammit Ginny, you went ahead and broke my curmudgeonly streak. 🙂

    Sweet story.

  25. Csquared: Welcome! Glad you liked it.

    Rassles: He does not. However, for a brief period, he did say, “Drat! Foiled again!” But then he moved on.

    Xbox: Thanks. And I’m holding my breath and hoping for a little magic in your camp…

    faemom: Thanks 🙂

    Allen: Being a curmudgeon is tiring as hell. Thought you needed a break 😉

  26. Awww, how sweet! Mine would run away and play in the parking lot, and they’re about the same ages.

    Wonderful writing.


  28. Ugh, TOTALLY. We’re not even considering it before we get back up to Canuck-land. No way am I paying ten grand to spit out a kid, that’s ridiculous. Plus, what if something happens and they need a new foot or something? I want those babies to have their laminated OHIP cards the minute they fly out.

  29. Be sure to print out copies of the story for the kids, for them to enjoy later. Time will pass (mine somehow are now 22 and 19). And keep writing about what they do to go along with all the pictures you are taking. My tip is: when I ask my kids what their favorite childhood memories are, they are always stories about things we did out in nature (flip flop goes down river, daughter follows, falls into deep hole, father and brother jump in to save her; dad hands child Gopher Snake, says it is harmless, snake bites child, child bleeds etc.) and interactions we had with animals. Never theme-parks or possessions. I like that. More power to all you parents and role models!

    Ned Anouting

  30. So unexpected and so sweet.
    Shows how complex kids are even at such a young age.
    What Mom’s secret smiles are made of!!!

  31. loveyh: Thanks 🙂

    Chick: Yeah, I know.

    Emerald: A new foot?!?! Thank god I didn’t know you when I was pregnant, that would have been one MORE thing to worry about.

    Mark: Will do.

    mysterioso: It’s the unexpectedness that I love the most.

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