9: Amazon Woman Becomes a Princess

9: Amazon Woman Becomes a Princess

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grand and Great

Amazon Woman Becomes a Princess

What is in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.

~William Shakespeare

Family members traveled to New Brunswick from all over that summer: Winston-Salem, Colorado Springs, Kalamazoo and Daytona Beach. Our youngest daughter was about to marry a young man from Washington, D.C., and all of us — uncle, aunt, two sisters, nieces, nephew, brother-in-law and parents — were present to witness the event.

The groom had been married before. With the divorce settlement, he gained custody of the two children — a boy, five and a girl, three.

Not only were we gaining a new son-in-law, we would become instant grandparents to two adorable children, David and Stephanie.

On the afternoon before the wedding, family members from both sides gathered in the groom’s apartment to pass the time and get acquainted. The two youngsters were a part of this homogeneous group.

From previous conversations with my daughter, I knew these children came fully endowed with six living grandparents. They had two grandmothers, two grandfathers and two great-grandmothers.

How would we fit into this galaxy of grands and greatgrands? I wondered. How would the children designate which grand person they were talking about or talking to? And, by what names would they call me and my husband?

During a lull in the chit-chat, I became bold and expressed my thoughts out loud.

Young David looked at me with a shy grin on his face and spoke as if he had already figured this out.

“I’m going to call you ‘Princess,’” he said.

The room grew very quiet. I suspect this announcement shocked them as much as it did me.

For some unknown reason, David had looked at me and decided I should be called “Princess.”

All through school, I towered inches above my short girlfriends. I weighed more than I should, even with the added height. Consequently, I grew up thinking of myself as the Amazon Woman, never as a princess.

“What a lovely name,” I gasped. “I’m honored and delighted that you want to call me by that name.”

Then and there, I became “Princess.” Soon after, they christened my husband “Pop-Pop.”

Ten years have passed since then. Young David is fifteen, his sister Stephanie is thirteen, and they have a little sister named Rebecca. She is eight.

I often look back at that moment and consider it a turning point in my life. Yes, I had evolved from the tall, awkward young girl, into a more graceful woman with streaks of gray in my hair, and a calm, self-assuredness that only years of living can produce.

From time to time, someone might pay me a compliment, but no one, not even my husband, had ever called me “Princess.” No one, that is, except David.

I’ll always be grateful to him. He helped me replace the clumsy, gargantuan image I’d carried in my mind’s eye, too long, with the image of a princess.

On some days I know I look more like a bag lady than a princess. But on a day ten years ago, a five-year-old thought I looked like a princess.

Perhaps it was the yellow summer dress I wore, or the jubilant smile on my face that said I approved of my daughter’s choice of a life-mate. Whatever it was, the name thrilled me then as it does now.

Whenever I pick up the phone and a voice at the other end says, “Hi, Princess. Guess what happened at school today,” a big smile spreads across my face and joy fills my heart.

And that’s chicken soup for my soul!

~Adeline C. Erwin
Chicken Soup for the Grandparent’s Soul

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