Would You Want Your Child to Marry a Prince?

Much has been made of the pending "pressures of the crown" for Kate Middleton (pictured above with her mom). And while most women have fantasized about becoming a princess at some point in their lives, we have to wonder at what point Middleton realized she actually would become a princess -- and whether or not the thought terrified her. But as this mother learns from her daughter, being a princess is not all that different from the life of the average Jane -- at least in one very important respect.

When my daughter was in second grade, she wanted to be an almond for Halloween.

"An almond?" I asked her, smiling but sort of worried for her in the way of playground politics.

"Yes," she said with knowing eyes. "An almond."

So we made a foam and corduroy sandwich board, and she slipped it over her head, sporting a brown turtleneck and black leggings. It reminded me of Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird dressed up like a ham. I had a kid like Scout. I was proud.

And I stood there watching the school pageant, girl after girl in Walt Disney costumes -- Belle, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella; smiling and waving, regal -- and there was my daughter, parading as a bona-fide nut. At first she smiled her knowing smile, but little by little it dawned on her that she was not just a minority, but one of a kind. And she didn't like it one bit. When it was over, she came to me crying, innocence lost, red-faced and ripped-off: "Why are all the girls dressed as princesses?" Like where are all the almonds of the world?

I didn't know what to say. I didn't want to tell her that being an almond was harder. That it took a certain moxie and confidence and resilience. I didn't want to tell her that society created and prized princesses. I didn't want to tell her that I'd almost been one.

Laura Munson is the author of the bestselling memoir This Is Not the Story You Think It Is (Amy Einhorn/Putnam). She lives in Montana with her husband and children.

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