And honestly... I read many of the articles... but they didn't really sway me either way. People can like it or not like it, and that's okay. I'm not writing to convince you to like it or to convince you to lock it up and make sure your kids never see it.
I am writing because watching Sadie watch Frozen had me nearly in tears every time I thought about it for the first few days after we went to see it together.
Our trip to the theater was a big deal. Paul took a precious mid-day off studying and Sadie and I rushed off to the theater. She was dressed in her Anna costume that we'd gotten on sale with a gift card at Toys R' Us, back when the shelves were still dripping with all things Frozen, rather than sold out nearly instantly when a new item was finally stocked, and she bounded across the parking lot clutching my hand with excitement.
The last time we'd gone to see a movie was in California when Brave was released, so it had been a while. For the last few years we haven't really been a "see it in the theater" type of family.
So we went and we watched. Afterwards we went to a nearby restaurant, because I was stretching out our special day for as long as I could, and she ate a kid's sized plate of spaghetti with a giant meat ball, while her Anna doll sat on the table, and we talked.
Sadie talked about how she was just like Anna and Maggie... Maggie had been just like Elsa, trying to run away, not talking about things, wanting to go in her room and close the door, which is exactly what Mae does when she's overwhelmed, which used to be quite frequently.
She loved the movie and in her mind it wasn't about all the various things that people say it's about. In her mind it was about her relationship with her sister, who happens to be autistic. And watching seemed to help her process Mae's way of dealing with the world around her. My heart melted. She sees Elsa hiding in her room with the world locked outside and she saw her sister. She saw Elsa wanting to escape when things were too overwhelming and that reminded her of how Mae reacts when she's overwhelmed too.
When Frozen came out Mae was about a month and a half away from her diagnosis and was just starting therapy. She hadn't been given many of the tools that she has today that help her communicate with the world around her, and especially with her sister and brother. She and Sadie weren't playing princesses together just yet, and I wouldn't find Sadie in her sister's bed whispering bed time stories to her. Mae was still much more removed from Sadie's world than she is today.
Things are quite different now. A few weeks ago I asked Sadie what her favorite part was about Mae starting therapy. "Well," she said, thinking hard, "I like that she's a princess now. And that she likes pink."
But I still remember those first days when Sadie related so strongly to Frozen because she felt like it was about her relationship with her sister. And I can't help but think of how it helped her, in her own way, relate to a sister who she was finding hard to reach and how it seemed to give her hope that even when her sister seemed to lock herself away, they would still live happily ever after.
In the end, that's what I take away from the movie and that's why I'm so thankful that Disney made it. People can take from it what they will, but it will always hold a special place in my heart, because it helped one little girl, who I love very much, who was struggling to understand her sister to feel like she wasn't alone, and it gave her hope for a future that we didn't know at the time, was actually much closer than we imagined.
And in case that wasn't enough princess-ness for you... here are a few of my favorite princess moments from our home: