At night, Annike has gotten in the habit of asking for a bedtime story. She used to say something like, "One upon a time, the three bears?" This means: tell me a once upon a time story about Goldilocks and the three bears. Usually it is Papa who is putting her to bed; he tells the best stories.
Then the stories evolved to "One upon a time, witch?" Strange that she is so frightened of witches (thanks to Disney), but still wants to hear a story about them. She already secretly enjoys the feeling of being scared.
The latest is "One upon a time, you and me?" Tell me a once upon a time story about you and me. About us. About the romance of the life we lead together.
It is both endearing, and eye-opening. We are on a great journey with our children, writing our own story as we go. It IS a tale about princes and princesses, involving conflict, good versus evil, love, friends, miracles, and sometimes we meet a scary witch along the way. There is always a moral to the story, or at the very least, a lesson to be learned. Not every adventure in our journey has a happy ending, but the overall story is one worth telling.
Sometimes I forget about the story that I am writing with her. I get caught up instead in my own story and its details, daydreaming about a day when I will have all of the alone time I could possibly want. But the important story in my life is the one I am beginning with her. Before me is an opportunity to help write the opening scene of someone else's life, to set one human being on the right track, to establish in her a healthy sense of selflessness and great love for God and mankind.
"One upon a time, you and me.... we embarked on a great mission to love others in our life together. We experienced heartbreak, we learned from our mistakes, and we laughed a lot along the way." This is the story we will tell.