I’m hooked on that new NBC show, “Parenthood.” It’s brilliant. Great characters. Great dialogue. The show is as much about the experience of being adult children as it is about being parents of young children. Anyway, this year’s Halloween episode really resonated with me. In the episode, Julia, a ultra-high powered corporate lawyer, was thrown into a tailspin when her only daughter, Sidney, announced she wanted to be Miss California for Halloween. Julia spent the episode explaining how far women have come…detailing the history of the women’s rights movement to her ultra-precocious six year old daughter and reminding her how cute last year’s ladybug costume still is. In the end? Julia dressed as Amelia Earhart for Halloween. And Sidney beamed in her Miss California dress and sash. When my daughter announced she wanted to dress up as a princess this year, I cringed. We compromised on “Fairy” princess. Every time someone asked the Bean, “What are you going to be for Halloween?” she answered, “A princess.” And without a beat I chimed in “What kind of princess?” And Bean dutifully answered, “A Fairy princess.” And I felt better.
The first song on Frances England’s fantastic new CD for kids is called “Mind of My Own.” This song has become my anthem. I sure as heck have a mind of my own. And I want the Bean to have one too. I’m not going to let you lump my child into the pack of kids dressed as identical princesses on Halloween. She’s no cookie cutter. She’s got a mind of her own! But of course, as that episode of “Parenthood” makes painfully clear, that mind of her own may not always be in accord with mine! Sidney triumphed. She dressed as Miss California. Yes indeed, Mama, she’s got a mind of her own. So Miss California, or simply “A Princess” it is. Frances England’s song manages simultaneously to validate my desires for my child to be her own person, and to validate her point of view, even when it differs from mine.
“Some day I’ll be the one, who makes all my decisions. And someday I’ll be the one who decides what time I go to bed. Who knows just where I’ll lay my head. Or maybe I’ll just stay up instead.”
Check out “Mind of My Own” by Frances England and slip it into your daughter’s Christmas stocking…if you dare. It will remind you that you have a mind of your own. But guess what? So does she.