I had the opportunity to spend the day with my nieces at Disney World last weekend. It was an absolute blast! Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE Disney and all things Princess. So, getting to share that experience with my Curly Girl nieces was a dream come true.
While little sister, Addison, took a nap, Ansley and I went on the Ariel ride. While we were in line outside, she was telling me about Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios and how it’s her favorite. Aerosmith is featured on that ride, so I told Ansley that “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” used to be Aunt Christy and Uncle Nickadino’s song when we were together in college, before we broke up. This must have been new information to her because she asked me, “What do you mean, ‘before you broke up’?”
My Mom and Dad always told us the truth when we asked questions, so I give the same respect to Ansley when she asks questions. (Of course, I make my answers age-appropriate). So, I told her the story of Aunt Christy and Uncle Nickadino – just hitting the highlights – and told her how faithful God was to let us find each other again and get our own fairy tale. It moved me to tears to be able to share and show God’s faithfulness and the importance of obedience with her tender heart.
As we were making our way through the grotto, I noticed the words of a song or poem on the wall that spoke of the Siren’s Song. And, inquisitive as ever, Ansley asked about the Siren. Then, we talked about myths and legends. And, we talked about the importance of dreaming and make believe.
Right now, she still believes in fairy tales. Of course, she knows they aren’t real, but she sees the beauty and the magic in them. I don’t want her to ever loose that sense of wonder. The world is going to try to take that from her, tell her she’s silly to dream, and try to make her jaded like so many others. But, I hope she holds tightly to her dreams and her ability to think beyond what she sees.
In light of that, we talked about what fairy tales teach us. Since we were looking at Ariel’s story right in front of us, I talked about that. We were passing by the Sea Witch and I saw something in the story I hadn’t thought of before, so I said to Ansley:
“We know that Ariel gave up her voice to the Sea Witch in return for her legs, right? We also know that no one is going to come and magically steal your voice and put it into a seashell. That’s something that happens in a fairy tale, but couldn’t happen in real life. BUT, that doesn’t mean that we should ignore or dismiss this part of the story. There will be times in life where people want to silence you – where they want to steal your voice. They may not be magically transferring it to a seashell for safe keeping, but they might make fun of you or tell you that what you think is silly. They might pressure you to be silent. But, your voice is important. What you think and what you have to say is important. Always do your best to be kind, but being kind doesn’t mean you give up your right to speak. Don’t ever let someone steal your voice, Ansley. Aunt Christy hasn’t always done the best job of that, but I’m working on it. So, I hope you learn that now – your voice is important.”
And, in the course of half an hour, I was able to cover some topics that are so dear to my heart and that I will repeat to her as often as I have the chance. I want my nieces to know that God is faithful. He can be trusted and obedience to Him is always the best choice for us. And, I want them to know that even though they are beautiful, it’s the beauty of their hearts that matters. The world may judge them by their outward appearance, but their hearts are what God sees and is the light behind their earthly beauty.
And, I want them to know that their words have power. It’s important to dream, to reach for the stars, and to see beyond what is possible. That’s where invention lives. That’s where creation exists. And, I hope they never let anyone push them back into silence by telling them they are silly. I hope that when they are made fun of for having a heart of adventure, romance, and imagination, they remember that they were created for so much more than what the world accepts as normal. I hope they never let anyone steal their voice, and I hope they never trade it for something less important.
Being “Aunt Christy” (along with Uncle Nickadino) is one of the highest and greatest honors and privileges of my life. I love watching our nieces and nephews grow into the people God is calling them to be. I’m sure there are many more moments ahead where I will have the opportunity to speak into their hearts. But, I had to take this moment to write it down. I hope they know they are completely and unconditionally loved by us, but also perfectly by their Father in Heaven.
I hope they always remember. I hope they always know and believe they are so very loved.