This I Believe

Donna - Beverly, Massachusetts
Entered on October 10, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
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Damn! That Walt Disney, I thought, meekly peering over my lawyer’s shoulder at my ex husband who sat smugly next to his flirtatious attorney.

Suddenly the innocence of my childhood dreams of the way things should have been turned into a nightmare.

How could I have been so blind, I thought? I quickly turned away before his piercing eyes could impale my already wounded heart. At that point I had to drift away from the pompous head nodding Judge, and circus style arena of cross examination. With the pain of the present so overwhelming I began to hide under the comforting covers of my childhood days.

I was now the nine year old tom boy balancing on the splendour of womanhood portrayed in the nineteen inch television screen before me. The colorful black and white setting of Walt Disney’s Sunday Night Movie toyed with my emotions as Cinderella sat hopelessly reflecting only the dreams of others. Everything about her harmonised with my unspoken, unfound sense of self. I sat in awe as the words of her sorrow mirrored my own. I felt her pain, I saw her promise, I trusted the power of magical wonder that all the Disney movies offered.

At times I identified so much with Cinderella that I welcomed the Palmolive advertisements as they eased my empathetic sorrow and self reflection.

I just knew I could trust the morale of Walt Disney’s story and began to embrace hope for her, for myself. I dared to believe there would be justice, promise and a happy ending, to her story, to life in general.

I welcomed such comfort although it played with my emotions, it fed my naive faith in happily ever after. After all who would want to believe that life being so cruel did not deserve hope? Such anchored sorrow invited me to believe, as I danced elegantly with a prince, a prayer. Being a victim of child abuse I needed to trust life had more promise to give if I believed it true.

As the movie ended with ensuring promise I felt hopeful that I too would someday have my tears and fears consoled by a happy ending. I made a promise to myself that evening as my heart had found new hope, that I would not only someday have a prince but that I would do everything in my power to save children from such sorrows in the world.

I prayed to God that night to bring a baby to my door step to raise instead of a child possibly being raised by a wicked stepmother or step sisters. I prayed to never have to witness such lonely sorrow in a person as I saw and related to in Cinderella’s story. As I got older I spent most of my time helping children. I became known as the best baby-sitter in the neighborhood, in fact they called me the pied piper, because children followed me in comfort.

After finishing high school, I went to a small community college to study mental health and early childhood education. I got a job running an outreach center and helping needy youth through their difficult times. I invested all of my time and energy into helping others and left very little time for dating.

I had yet to meet a prince and although it at times seemed quite hopeless, I still had the faith in the Walt Disney promise of how life should be and was willing to wait.

At the age of twenty I found myself working with a young mother who could not raise her new-born son so she asked me to care for him. I was confident this was part of my life script as I had prayed for a baby at my door step to save from the wickedness life sometimes brings.

I put off dating as I dedicated every day of my early twenties to raising little ‘Bobbie.” I had only had one boyfriend between high school and ‘Bobbie’s” fifth birthday. I had become a dedicated foster mother to two other small children by the time I met my ‘prince.” I had just taken in a teenage foster child who went to the local boys group home one afternoon to volunteer her help. At the end of the evening one of the male staff members offered to walk her home. She introduced me to Rich, and suddenly all those youthful dreams flashed before me, and I dared to believe in a happy ending. We dated and had many of the same interests, mountain climbing, gardens, helping children and sorrow filled childhood’s.

I was surrounded with joy as my heart reflected the same hope offered years before in a Sunday Night Disney Special Movie. I was no longer that sad little girl in her own little corner of the world seeking happiness. Together we fostered children that had no place, no one, no promise. This magical coach carried us through three pregnancies and financial hardship. Yet one chapter was filled with such pain after I had lost a baby in pregnancy, my family abandoned me and a woman who was like a mother to me became gravely ill. I broke down, I felt defeated and lost somewhere in truth and tale. Just in the hour of my need, my prince left me broken on the ballroom floor and the vows he had once promised became lost in his own tales of deception.

Now here I sit, in my own little corner of justice, in my own little chair of despair, clutching tightly to the pages of a childhood dream and lost innocence.