This is the REAL Merida

There’s been some (completely ridiculous not at all important) hullabaloo about the new official Disney Princess, Merida.  I want you to meet the real Merida…

This is my daughter Emma, riding a horse in a thunderstorm during our Adventures By Disney trip last summer.  Those of you who have been here before have likely already met her and know that she has always done things on her own terms, in her own time.

Like being born two months early – setting her own pace from day one:

This amazing and wonderful child of mine has always marched to the beat of a different drummer, usually slightly out of step, causing me more than a little parenting anxiety.  Just when I was sure that she’d remain toothless her entire life, her first tooth appeared at 15 months.  When I was sure she’d never walk, she started walking at 15 months…on her knees.   Who needs feet?  When a preschool administrator told me she wasn’t sure Emma was able to socialize with other children, Emma told me that she simply prefers adults.  Children are so childish after all.  And every long-awaited, not-quite-typical step of my daughter’s nine years has been like this – 100% her own.

The little one content to sit and stare at a butterfly while her friends ran and shouted…

The finder of four leaf clovers…

The wearer of messy braids and backwards baseball caps…

The child whose unreliable balance keeps her off of bicycles, but whose bravery made her fall in love with horses…

Parenting this strong, brave, free-spirited child has been a challenge.

And an honor.

For me, the movie Brave reminded me of the importance of being the parent our children need us to be, not the parent we thought we would become.

And it reminded me that as parents, we need to allow our children to be who they are.

My daughter is strong.  My daughter is brave.  My daughter is a princess.

And so is yours.  And so is Merida.

No matter how you draw her.

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