I can’t imagine what goes on inside of my little boy’s brain. He’s two years old, very talkative, and very smart. He likes to tell me stories. He has a wild imagination. Last night, while I was rocking him before bedtime, he told me the following story.
He said, “This house is for Jacob, Mommy, Daddy, Tucker dog, and Lila. Lila is a mean cat. When Jacob (he calls himself in third person) is big, Jacob wants to help people like Mommy does. Jacob wants to drive the ice cream truck. Daddy works at the grocery store. He helps people too. But Mommy is a princess. She loves me more than cookies and more than the moon.”
I kindly remind him that Jacob can do anything he wants in life, even drive the ice cream truck. I also told him that Jacob can help people right now by being kind to his friends. I also remind him that Daddy is a lawyer (he thinks my husband Jason works at the grocery store because he does all of our grocery shopping) and that I don’t love him more than cookies or the moon. I love him more than the whole wide world.
When he says his mommy is a princess, however, I never correct him.
When I was a little girl, there was a big portrait of my mom hanging over her bed in a beautiful white dress with a crown on her head. I too thought my mommy was a princess. Sometimes when I was playing dress-up, my mom would let me try on her crown. I always thought that my mom was the most beautiful, kind, and special person. She was a princess after all.
I still think that. That was one of my motivations in competing at Mrs. Ohio. I wanted my son to see me the way I see my mom. The truth is, she is a princess, as am I. It doesn’t take a rhinestone tiara to be a princess. That tiara is merely a recognizable symbol. As I see it, the sign of a true princess – whether she has held a pageant title or not – is being kind to others, loving unconditionally, and being willing to help others in their time of need. I strive to do that every day. I know my Mom does the same. I hope that as my son grows, he sees those traits in me. I hope that when he begins dating, he looks for a woman with those same traits. And I hope for right now, when my two year old son sees me proudly wearing my crown, he continues to think Mommy is a princess.
Jacob, I love you more than cookies, more than the moon, and more than the whole wide world.
Ashley Starling, Mrs. Ohio 2015