I’ve been reading a book which is basically a Sleeping Beauty variant. Generally I really enjoy a well done rewrite of a fairy tale, but this time something keeps bugging me and I figure if I write about it in here I’ll purge it from my brain and be able to enjoy the rest of the book.
Why did the parents send away their daughter?
Supposedly sending the baby girl away keeps her safer from the evil which cast a spell on her. But it also deprives both parents and daughter of all meaninful contact during all of her childhood years. Suppose the daughter is kept completely safe and is returned to her parents at age 16. Yay, the spell has been defeated, but daughter and parents are left with no real relationship and no way to make up for lost time. Now suppose that the spell comes into full force when the daughter is 10 and she dies. The parents have been deprived of what might have been 10 years of enjoying the company of their daughter.
Maybe it is because I’m a controlling parent, but I would have a really hard time handing over my daughter. I wouldn’t believe that anyone else could do as good a job as I would raising her and keeping her safe. I would find a solution which allowed me to keep her as safe as possible while still being the one who raises her.
And as soon as I finished writing the above I started thinking about the courage of birth parents who give up their babies to adoptive parents. In essence the dilemma of Sleeping Beauty’s parents happens every day. Every day there is a young mother who looks down at her beloved child and knows she must give the child up to strangers so that the child will have a better future. And these young birth mothers have no promise that the child will every come back, not at 16 or 18 or ever. Such courage puts me into awe. I don’t know that I could be so noble. Especially not if it required me to hand over one of my children.