What Does Your Crown Cost?

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Truth Byte #10: Not everyone deserves your time.

Have you ever wanted to be a princess? How about a super-hero? I have. And it hasn’t really gone away as I grow older.

Take Sunday, for example. I was over-booked into family commitments: Beavers for the boy followed immediately (and in another part of town) by a birthday party for the girl. Now, just to clarify, Sunday is usually our lazy day, the day we say no to everything, and spend the day just lounging in our pjs with cartoons and novels and family snuggle time. But we had said yes, and I don’t like breaking promises. Plus I heard a rumour that I may see a princess today.

I grudgingly got into my pretty dress (birthday party) and hiking boots (Beavers) and rushed around making sure there were enough snacks for all, including my personal Prince Charming (who was really acting a bit like a grumpy ogre that morning).

Stay with me here.

There is a point.

It was a standard adult situation, where the whole day was going be about other people and their needs. Parents – you know what it’s like. Employees – you definitely know what it’s like. What the boss wants, the boss gets, and the rest of us are just trying to stay awake on the long drives to and from work.

Luckily, the Ogre/Prince Charming was driving.

So while we walked/hiked through the trail at destination #1, I started to think about the cost of the crown. When you are the king or queen, there is a cost. The crown is damn heavy, especially if it’s made of gold. How much is it costing you to look after your kingdom? Is it worth the price?

And when I got that, when I remembered that I have a choice of who deserves my time (which, to be honest, is the most precious commodity most of us “own”), the day changed.

Suddenly, I was a princess, serene, walking through a beautiful trail with the sunlight slanting just so and water flowing beside me, instead of a self-conscious (enter pretty dress and ugly boots) and slightly clumsy mom trying my best to keep up with the six year old hikers around me while pushing a stroller through the underbrush (so THAT’s what the baby-carrier is for!!). My kids didn’t even register that I was there! But I realized, as I watched the sunshine dancing off the leaves, that I had promised myself a long walk in nature this month, and February is almost over. Good thing all the forces in the universe lined up to squeeze that one in for me! All under the guise of a children’s hike.

Destination #2: the birthday party. Now, please keep in mind, I love these people. It’s just that if you really want to socialize with friends, you can’t do it in the midst of a roomful of sugar-high children. Oh you can try! But it’s nearly impossible.

We go to the birthday party because that’s what people do, they celebrate each other, but I have already had my “princess moment” for the day, so I am not expecting much, just bracing myself for small talk with strangers and every grandmother bragging about how brilliant her grandchild is: “Oh wow! He can sing Twinkle Twinkle? And he is TWO? AND he can unlock the IPhone? Must be a genius.” (insert under-cover eye-roll here). So I busy myself by avoiding too much of the rich delicious food. And then I switch to watching the dynamics of children who barely know each other becoming soul-sisters for two hours. If only adult brains worked that way….

And then suddenly, the magic happens:

Two real princess show up at the party.

Well, one princess and one queen, if you want to get technical. The queen is wearing a crown. I try not to smile. I try not to stare. I try not to sing at the top of my lungs and join in the dance party. But I fail. For one hour, every girl and woman in the room is swept up in the magic of being a princess, while amused husbands secretly gulp down another round of Diet Coke and vanilla cake and the boys show off their pre-pubescent dance moves to “Let it Go.” Magnificent.

The point? Not everyone deserves my time. I say no when I don’t want to be somewhere. And I do it without excuse or apology. But if I say yes, if I join you for that birthday party or afternoon hike, or cup of tea, or samosa-wrapping party, know that I will find a way to make it magical. And it will add to the cost of my crown. Because my kingdom deserves to be protected and celebrated, as does yours.

So as you reflect on your life, on your magical moments, what stands out? Are you respecting the cost of your crown, or are you spreading yourself too thin, saying yes to everything, and giving everyone unlimited, VIP passes to your downtime? There is help to get you back on track, it just takes three simple steps:

First: notice that there is a problem.

Next: ask for help.

Lastly: remember you are royalty.

It’s that simple. So what does your crown cost?