Today I have been organizing and scanning photos for a rehearsal dinner video for a couple that is getting married later this month. He has just finished dental school, and they have been dating since they were teenagers. The pictures are amazing...seeing them as a part of each other's lives through all of the highlights to date. The families are friends, and both sets are delighted. I can imagine that their wedding will be a wonderful celebration of two people who figured it out early and are now making a public declaration of what they've known in their hearts for awhile.
Last night, I went to see a movie that was billed as an "all-American love story." I'd been planning to see it for weeks. I'd even read the book. I wasn't disappointed. There were women of all ages who wanted to see on the screen what they would love to see in real life. Except in real life...it seems that the forward girls win out and a lot of great ladies with beautiful but quiet spirits sit on the sidelines. For awhile, anyway.
What I did realize sitting in the theater was that the reason that some of the best love stories are what they are is because there is always something that must be overcome. In essence...there has to be distance, or bad timing, or some other drama. Without it, sometimes people still have a sweet story...but there is usually something to overcome.
Every fairytale that we hear as girls involves witches, spells, or evil stepmothers. In real life, that equates to bosses, baggage, and crazy people. Sometimes we long for that fairy godmother who will come and magically give us our moment in the sun. Others of us would just like the peace of knowing that we have good friends who will have our back. And some of us just want to hold on to some strand of hope that all will work out as it should in the end.
That hope is why we applaud when we are staying at a beachfront hotel and we see the groom kiss the bride after watching the wedding from our balconies. It is why so many people are glued to reality shows like "The Bachelor" each week. It is also why we will squeal with delight when we see the new engagement ring...and we want all of the details of the proposal.
If the glass slipper fit us...we tend to think that everyone should find their Prince Charming. If it didn't...we want to try to figure it out for someone else. The little girl inside all of us believes that this is our birthright...to be pursued and won and adored. If only men actually understood this longing...they might understand women far better. It seems to be how we were created.
Some young women seem to meet their princes early in the game. They seem to have a charmed life from the first date to the altar. Others get their hearts broken along the way but keep hoping for the best. Sometimes they doubt that the day will ever come for them...but they refuse to give up just the same.
Several years ago, Julia Roberts' character in "Pretty Woman" refused a deal that would have been a step up but not what she figured out along the way that she deserved. She said that she wanted "the fairytale"...and at the end of the movie...she got it. Most of the time, it doesn't work out that easily...but for those women who refuse to lower their standards...they often find that their faith in themselves is rewarded.
I read something on the internet several years ago about women being like apples. The best apples were at the top of the tree wondering what was wrong with them. The apples on the lower branches were picked off and the fruit that had hit the ground was being consumed as well. The men just did not seem to notice the better apples. But one day, the men started looking up for something without blemishes and bruises...and eventually started climbing the trees after the better apples. The apples that were there waiting for someone to be worthy enough to attempt the climb.
In truth, I've told that story to young men...telling them to look up the tree and not be afraid to scale that tree...while warning them of the rotten apples just sitting there on the ground for the taking. I've also told the story to young women who are patiently ripening into glorious women waiting on someone to be brave enough to risk the climb. It is a risk, of course. The higher you climb...the higher the risk of a fall.
But all in all, don't we love it when everything works out as it should? When we attend a wedding and see the joy in their faces. When we can celebrate the popping of a question or can sense that all is right in the world when we meet someone's new significant other.
Fairytales...sometimes it is easy to be cynical, and then other times...we are reminded that something wonderful is still out there waiting to be savored. And occasionally, we get to be fairy godmothers or the supportive friends in the tale. And when it all comes together...it helps us understand why we all still believe in magic.