Once upon a time, there was a little girl who dreamed about what it would be like to travel to a far away land, and to live happily ever after with her prince. She spent her days discovering new things – special things – secret things and packed them away in her suitcase.
She collected scraps of fabric that would one day weave together a blanket for their first baby. She found the perfect pillows that would act as compassion for her husband. She made valentine cards with lopsided hearts and rhyming poems that she would one day use to show her prince just how special he was. She took pictures of all her favorite memories, to give to him as special gifts … memories that would tell him more about who she was and why she believed the things she did. She found the perfect black dress for those special date nights. She saved all her favorite recipes and put them in a little box. She took her tenderness and made slippers. The princess watched her parents and learned what it meant to be a woman and a wife.
She carefully packed all these things into her suitcase. The delicate things were wrapped with care. The hard-to-break items were placed at the bottom of the bag, to act as a foundation for the rest. The princess would bring her suitcase with her when she met her prince charming.
One day, her dream came true. The day had finally came when she would become a wife! She gathered all of her special belongings, and began to make a home for herself and her groom. She slowly began to unpack her bag. First, the hard, sturdy items came out. Her independence, her willingness to try new things, her eagerness to please. She soon found a place for each of these in their new home.
Then, she began to unpack the softer things. She laid the woven blanket on their new baby’s bed. She covered their baby with love, peace, tenderness and softness. She was so busy making a home for herself, that she missed the disapproving look on her prince charming’s face.
Then, she began to unpack some of her favorite memories. Each one shared long after the children were asleep, when only the two of them could hear. She shared her hopes, her dreams, her favorite love stories. She began to teach him more and more about herself … carefully unwrapping each gift to lay at his feet.
She all too soon learned that these delicate stories had no place in their home. Her cherished moments were being cracked and chipped away. They were forgotten about, misplaced and stepped on. Quick, before anymore of her porcelain memories could be broken, she started to put them back in her suitcase. But she still had so much left to unpack – she hadn’t even really settled into their new home. The fabric she had chosen for her blankets were criticized for not being the right color or softness. She packed those away, soaked in tears. The pillows she had carefully placed on the couch and on the beds were thrown across the room and tossed aside. Since they weren’t important to her husband, she put those away too. Her perfect black dress, hung in the closet, never been worn. That too went back into the suitcase.
She began to believe that all these things she had been saving for years were foolish. They were “girl dreams.” They had no place in real life. How foolish she was to think her childish suitcase would have a place in her new “grown up” home.
This didn’t look anything like the fairy tale she had so carefully planned and prepared for. She hadn’t packed her suitcase with armor and protection to reflect the criticism. She didn’t anticipate that someone else wouldn’t see the value in her treasures. She had saved all the fragile parts of herself for her marriage – as a once in a lifetime gift to her prince charming. She was so unprepared.
After a while, the princess looked around her new home, in the far away land, and realized she had put everything she had been saving for these years, back into her suitcase. There was nothing left unpacked. She didn’t belong here. Her life treasures weren’t treasured at all. She was all packed, neatly tucked away in a small little suitcase. She had no other choice but to leave her fairy tale behind. She was ready for life’s new adventure.
With each step, she gained strength. Her arms grew muscle as she carried her life suitcase down the road. Her skin tanned under the sun. Her legs grew strength with each stride. She was strong. What the princess didn’t realize was how tightly she had locked up her suitcase and how much of a mess it would make when the next prince came along …
to be continued …