Princesses can do Anything

Anna's 1st Swim Class

Anna in her first swim class. She’s come a long way in the last eight weeks.

Anna finished her second session of swim classes Thursday. She loves the water so much we’ve been calling her “our little mermaid.” So it’s no surprise that she’s doing great, and has been advanced to the next session.

At the end of class, her teacher gave us her evaluation. She received passing grades on all her advancement goals: Independent front and back floats for five seconds, independent front and back glides from the wall for five seconds, and an independent front crawl with five proper strokes. Underneath this checklist, in the comments section, Anna’s teacher wrote “Princesses can do anything.”

Anna’s been saying that a lot lately. As I’ve explained in my post titled The Pernicious Pink Princess Plot, “princess” to Anna is another word for “girl.” Yes, she’s obsessed with pink, and princesses, and, most of all, pink princesses, and yes, she knows all the Disney Princess movies by heart, but that’s just one part of her complex personality.

Yet I am supposed to be concerned that I’ve let the “Disney Princess Culture” turn my independent, stubborn, and occasionally exasperating daughter into some kind of passive pink pushover. I know my daughter better than that, and now, in her own words, she’s proven me right:

“Princesses can do anything.”

It’s the same thing I told her the day she was born:

“Anna, I want you to know that there is nothing you can’t do; nothing you can’t be if you want to, and don’t listen to anyone who tells you different.” A Smile for Anna, Ch. 8

She didn’t remember my words that day, but she’s heard me and her mom day after day, in our words and our actions, tell her the one thing we most want her to know and remember:

“Girls can do anything.”

I’m so proud of her.

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