Rapunzel (A Love Letter, Of Sorts)

Dear Shae,

It's been a while since I wrote you a love letter. We're about due. Especially because we've had a rough couple of weeks, you and I. We seem to communicate primarily through show tunes these days -- I suppose you get that from me. I've often found that song lyrics can express the things that I am thinking and feeling better than my own words could. (This also explains why most of my ex-boyfriends are gay theater people, but that's a conversation for another day, okay?) Let's start with "Tangled," because that is one of your favorites right now.


... Mother knows best, listen to your mother
It's a scary world out there
Mother knows best, one way or another
Something will go wrong, I swear
Ruffians, thugs, poison ivy, quicksand
Cannibals and snakes, the plague ...
Also large bugs, men with pointy teeth, and
Stop, no more, you'll just upset me ...


You think you're a Big Girl now, my little Miss Independent. I appreciate that, I really do, but you need to believe me when I say that you can't do everything you think you can. Not yet. I know you think I'm being hard on you, but stuff happens. Accidents happen. Life happens. I don't know exactly what's going on at school these days, but I know you're upset because your favorite teacher retired and your best friend is out until August. Daddy's at work most nights, and you don't get to spend as much time with him as you'd like to. We can't go to the playground every day, or to the water park, because there are a lot of creeps and weirdoes and not-nice kids and terrible parents out there, and I need to keep you away from as much bad stuff as I can for as long as I can.


I know it stinks, and I know it's hard and unfair. Unfortunately, nothing is fair. You'll hear that a lot, especially from me. One thing I hope you remember someday: this is hard for me, too. I worry about you, because I'm your mother and I have to, but also because I love you and I want to. I know how awesome you are, how sweet and smart and kind and loving, and I know what the Big Bad World can do to people like you. I used to be a lot like you, believe it or not, and seeing the Big Bad World has changed me. It will change you, too, and I am trying to keep you as sweet and as smart and as kind and as loving as I can for as long as I can. Please, slow down. Trust me. It might not feel like it, not all the time, but I think I know what I'm doing, and I promise, Cupcake, I'll let you out of the tower. You won't even need Eugene Fitzherbert to rescue you -- when the time comes, I will let him be your partner in adventure. I promise.


... Don't you know what's out there in the world?
Someone has to shield you from the world.
Stay with me.
Princes wait there in the world, it's true.
Princes, yes, but wolves and humans, too.
Stay at home.
I am home.
Who out there could love you more than I?
What out there that I cannot supply?
Stay with me.
Stay with me, the world is dark and wild.
Stay a child while you can be a child.
With me ...
          (warning: linked clip starts with a theatrical scream)


You don't know that song yet. It's from a musical called Into the Woods by a man called Stephen Sondheim, and it's one of my very favorites. In the show, this song is sung by a woman, an old witch, another version of Mother Gothel, one who also locks Rapunzel in a tower. But it's a different side of the same story. This witch is not wicked, or evil, or trying to use Rapunzel for her own nefarious purposes, to stay young or beautiful or powerful -- she is just Rapunzel's mother. Trying to protect her daughter, whom she loves more than life, the Universe, and everything. Her heart breaking, because her daughter is trying to do too much, to grow up too fast. Her daughter, her perfect, beautiful, wonderful, sweet and smart and kind and loving little girl.

I hope one day you will look back on this and see me as that Old Witch, and not Mother Gothel. I love you, Rapunzel.

xoxo Mommy.

1 comment:

  1. That is one of the sweetest things I've read lately. Shae couldn't have asked for a better mother!