Fairy tales are brilliant – I love them…but one of my children was talking about them today and said the well known phrase “they all lived happily ever after”. It made me think about this journey of adoption we go on and how through all the different and difficult stages there’s always that hope that all will turn out well. That once we have your children, once they feel more settled, once you get some therapy for them, once schools start to understand them – that life will be grand, a bed of roses, a fairytale ending. Maybe we believe that from the way society views adoption sometimes. These children who had a rough start but once they come live with you then everything turns around. We want to believe that of course, that’s partly why we do it – that we want to try and make things better for these children – and in lots of ways we do. BUT I guess the niggling question for me is ….will there ever be a happy ending?
When all is said and done fairy tales are not real – you never see the mundane, drudgery of life in fairy tales. In real life good does not always prevail. The frog does not turn into a prince and the weak do not always overcome the strong. Life is messy – there’s no airbrush and animation artists to make things look good. We are what our children have now – for good and bad – we’re not perfect but hopefully we can show them what love is about. We can demonstrate the realities of life – how to be content with who you are, how to achieve the things you want in life and how to give to other people in real relationships. At the end of the day there’s not much more we can do. We can’t fight their dragons for them. We can only give them the skills they need to face the battles in their lives and to overcome the beginnings they have had, so that they can make sense of life.
Of course fairy tales have things to teach us too. If we can see beyond the fantasy we can see the hope and persistent that we and our children need. The messages in fairy tales, whilst they may be more optimist than we are at times, they do point us to characteristics and skills we can teach our children.
‘Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten’. G.K. Chesterton
So wherever you find yourself on your journey today – whether you’re waiting for the story to begin, whether the characters are all in place but the show is yet to start, remember this …..happy endings are for fairy tales – real life is so much more fulfilling!