A couple of months ago, my daughter spent her own money on a beautiful sorceress costume that included a pointed hat with a long flowing veil that she loved. She knew well that we would not be celebrating Halloween this year, but wanted to use her money to buy a costume nonetheless. She took her time and looked at all of the available options, finally selecting one that would work well in the imaginary fantasy worlds that she and her brothers love to adventure in.
A little over a week ago a friend was visiting and Morgaine was excited about Halloween coming. Though we weren’t celebrating per say, I’d purchased a big bag of jelly bellies and we were going to play games and hangout at home. I knew my friend has strong feelings about Halloween I unsuccessfully tried to nip the conversation in the bud, but there’s no stopping an excited 8 year old who even ran upstairs to get dressed up in her sorceress costume. When my daughter came down, my friend told her that it looked very much like a beautiful princess costume, and I sensing my friend’s discomfort with my daughter appearance agreed and explained that princesses crowns often looked like her sorceress hat back in the middle ages. The princess conversation continued for a couple minutes, and then that was that.
A few days later, my little girl was curled into the rocking chair in our living room looking a little blue, wearing her costume but clutching the hat in her hands. When I went over to see what was wrong she said, “I don’t want to wear the hat anymore. I want to be a sorceress and everyone is just going to think I’m a princess.” With that she burst into tears.
I knew then, that I should have stood up for Morgaine when she was so excited to show her costume to my friend. Despite the discomfort to my friend caused by my daughter’s choice of costume, I should have spoken up and said that my daughter was not a princess and that she was very happy to be a sorceress. To Morgaine being a sorceress is all about fantasy – griffons and unicorns and magic. There’s no (unfounded) association with black magic or Satanism. There’s a beautiful, smart, little girl who knows that it is all pretend – she is playing in an imaginary world and loving every magical moment of it. Quite honestly, who doesn’t need a little bit of magic in their lives?
We did take the time to explain that “witchcraft” themed things do make a lot of people uncomfortable and that it would probably be easier for some people to think of her costume as a princess, but that she should be whatever she wanted to be and no one should be able to tell her that she isn’t or try to make her into something else. Sure, this was about a costume, but it goes for life as well.
You are beautiful, my girl, and I think you are the most mystical and magical little sorceress I’ve ever seen! Always be true to yourself and don’t let anyone change you.
* I know that my friend was not trying to change my daughter and that I know that she loves her very much (as I love her and her children) and this isn’t about her reaction to the costume, but my choice to go along with her and not be there for my daughter. I could see in Morgaine’s eyes that she was sad as we were talking to my friend, but I choose to ignore and even worse, not say anything to her after the conversation. It was days later when she finally told me how she was feeling and she’s the type of girl that feels deeply and strongly and I should have been more sensitive to her.