Once upon a time a little girl with long brown hair lived in a castle with her mom, dad, sister, dog and other pets, like fish, lizards and hamsters. She had her own bedroom painted pale pink, her favorite color at the time. Eventually she even had a full wall mural of a sandy beach with water and palm trees, and a blue suede chaise lounged in front of it.
Her sister, 8-years her senior, had a room right next door, painted in her then favorite colors of navy blue and yellow. She had a long closet where her friends signed their names, leaving permanent messages in pen and marker.
The castle was remodeled with the top floor converted into a giant master bedroom suite, huge walk-in closet, a long bathroom with a shower and a whirlpool bathtub. The addition, like a loft, overlooked the downstairs living room. Looking up were double doors revealing a beautiful office with custom-made bookcases and a large cherry-wood desk sitting in the middle. On the opposite wall upstairs sliding glass windows brought the sun and the stars inside, the chirping language of spring’s first birds, splashing water and laughter from kids playing in the pool.
For a brief time, the little princess with the pale pink room liked sleeping upstairs with her mom and back-scratcher. It was 13 stairs up to the master bedroom where double doors opened to the huge bedroom and a sitting area complete with a couch, television, plant stand and some more books, separated from the office only by the long bathroom.
During this bewitching period in the past, the moon sitting on the horizon, the young princess felt compelled to climb up the stairs, look at her mom and the empty spot next to her on the bed, then return to the double doors and yell down: “Dad, can I sleep up here with mom tonight?”
Both the mom and dad waited excitedly every evening, hoping to hear those few precious words.
Next the little girl would lie on her stomach, legs stretched over her mom’s, her back in perfect reach for scratching and massaging. She never wanted her mom to pause, nor did her mom want to, but soon she was asleep. I would straighten her out so she could rest comfortably through the night.
Those nights flew past with unfathomable speed, and soon enough the little princess didn’t need mom rubbing her back to help her go “night-night.” Instead her bedroom became her sanctuary with closed door, long phone calls and something called MySpace introducing her into a larger world she would one day conquer with successes even her greatest admirers still can’t envision.
Mom still alternates between abandonment and accomplishment, recalling those times tucked under the duvet in the big bed with her little princess, sharing magic that happens when backs need to be scratched and Full House is running a new episode.
Last night, a successful, beautiful woman stopped by the family’s down-sized castle in a rare moment of free time. It was particularly special because for a couple of hours she lie next to her mom in the big bed, watching TV, chatting, occasionally texting and often just resting comfortably and quietly next to me as if we’d quietly traveled into once upon a time.
In each second I appreciated the differences, both minuscule and monumental, reveling in the miracle of a parallel past and present storyline magically merging into moments my memory routinely replay until this new episode unexpectedly ran. Every now and then if you pay attention life will give you a peek into something seemingly unbelievable—like fairy tales coming true.