Monday, May 2, 2011

Royal weddings, children and happily ever afters

Along with some two billion people, my nine-year-old daughter and I tuned in to watch Prince William marry Kate Middleton. As we chatted about The Dress, William's appearance, and the grandeur of the Abbey and Buckingham Palace, seemingly out of nowhere, my daughter noted that the royal couple "might not be together that long."
Startled, I asked her where that came from, adding that I (and the millions of others watching) certainly hoped the pair would see years of wedded happiness. She merely shrugged, and said "they just might not." And this coming from a little girl who doesn't even know the backstory of William's mother, having been born five years after Diana's death.
In that moment, it struck me just how much the model of--and our perceptions of--marriage and family has changed. Nothing is forever, quite often, neither is marriage and even children are picking up on that fact. And the makeup of families is ever-changing. My daughter is keenly aware that single-parent families exist, and why.
Thirty years ago, as millions watched Diana and Charles walk down the altar in their "fairy tale" wedding, many hoped and likely believed their story would play out that way. But we know better now, and so it seems, do our children.
Still, we hope and still we long for the romance. My worries about my daughter's cynicism quickly evaporated as she impatiently waited for The Kiss. "When are they going to kiss, mom? I want to see the kiss." Some things never change.

***On another Royal note, I read a lovely op-ed from the Daily Mail Online written by Diana's friend Rosa Monckton on how Diana's greatest legacy is that William married for love. She writes: "Somehow, Diana’s own unhappiness has helped to give her son both the capacity and the opportunity for great love."  
 As a parent, I can think of no greater gift. 

Did you watch the royal wedding with your children?

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