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There Are No Fairy Tales

It is night and I am sitting on the edge of my child’s bed, exactly where he insists I sit, in between the old cat laying by his feet and the team of stuffed animals encasing his body like a frame. I am about to read him The Three Little Pigs, one of his favorite books, and even though we have gone past bedtime into my time, he still insists and I comply because I am worn down and feeling both melancholy and appreciative of my gifts, which of course, he is one.

We have at least five different versions of the book. In some, the wolf gets eaten, in others he is merely boiled, and the kind gentler versions spare his life and allow him to run away with only a bit of singed fur. But in all, the message is clear, at least to me, life ain’t no fairy tale. In fact, I’m not sure fairy tales are fairy tales. Even the ones where the princess gets her man, there’s an awful lot of suffering involved.

It’s been a tough week in Suburbia. Not the usual ‘can’t get to my gym class’, ‘I stained my favorite shirt’ or ‘I need to make 50 cupcakes by morning’ tough. Real life tough; the kind that breaks down barriers and breaks your balls, that doesn’t care if your lawn is manicured or your nails, who you are or where you come from. The kind where children suffer and their parents suffer, where people die expectantly and unexpectedly and both are horribly shocking. Marlboro man tough, human tough.

It’s those times that make you wonder about life; want to rage and cry at the sky above, like it holds any power and say, ‘You suck! What is this? This is not okay!’ But the sky doesn’t care. And life doesn’t care. It just keeps on going and going like the wheels on the bus, showing off with its casual beauty thrown haphazardly about. Look at that snowcapped mountain in the sunset. Look at that wild haired child who can’t stop giggling long enough to blow his bubbles. Look at those skyscrapers soaring into the horizon, and the perfection of a rainbow.

So much magnificence, to say yes, there is suffering but there is also splendor to distract you; to mock the heart ache, but also to ease it a bit as well.

Life is beautiful, even though it is pain and death, and no one – not Hansel or Gretel, Snow White or the doomed gingerbread man – can escape unscathed.

No one.

We are all in this together till death do us part. We cannot out outrun life, even when the sky is falling, or a wolf is banging down our door.

Life is tough, meaning rough, dangerous and difficult, but we are also tough, meaning strong, sturdy and resilient.

We have to be.

Because there isn’t always a happy ending, sometimes there’s just the end.



About Ice Scream Mama

Mama to 3 boys, wife to Mr. Baseball and daughter of a sad man. I have a double scoop every day.

45 responses »

  1. You’re right. I’ve yet to have a happy ending.

  2. Pingback: THERE ARE NO FAIRY TALES | isiakayusuf2010blog

  3. So true! The difficult, trying times truly make you appreciate the happy, simple moments. A friend from a study abroad semester in college watched her two year old battle and ultimately lose his fight against cancer. A sweet, young soul taken too soon. Her ability to choose light & life and see the love around her is truly amazing. There IS a lot of suffering in life, but our journey on earth is made lighter by faith, hope, & love from each other.

  4. The three little pigs will never be the same again! And I always thought there was more to them than meets the eye. But on another note, how about you take another scoop today, okay then, two extra…

    Take care, Baz 😉

  5. Natalie DeYoung

    I’ve been feeling this way lately. It must be in the air.
    I like the fairy tale point you make, though. Even fairy tales aren’t fairy tales. That gives me some comfort.
    Hoping next week looks up for you.

  6. Wow – this spoke to me in a really deep place. The tone is melancholy, and my heart goes out to you for your recent struggles, but the writing is so beautiful in this piece. Thank you for sharing it. Karen

    • thank you. some times life really does give you a kick in the ass. this felt really cathartic coming out and i was happy with it, writing wise. it’s funny though, i don’t think my readers like when i’m not sunny. next essay is going to be rainbows and sprinkles, or rainbow sprinkles. 😉

  7. This is so good! I love rainbows and sprinkles just as much as the next lady but this is a fantastically written reflection of true life. I eat this stuff up. 🙂

  8. Holy cow I love this. NOT that you are suffering right now. No I definitely do not love that. I love how you pieced this together and for awesome lines like this, “Marlboro man tough, human tough.” Brilliant. I’ve been feeling like this a lot lately, myself. I’m having “mortality issues”. And I can’t figure out why, no matter what I do, time keeps pushing forward without a care.

    Anyway, I hope the tough gets smoothed out for you and the fairy tales more sparkly.

  9. I’m pretty sure that if life were easy, Gallows humor would never have come to being. Because we’re all dying to laugh. Sometimes literally.

    Hope your tomorrow is a better day. And those pigs? They were fucking awesome!

    • true, suffering gives us laughter, and a good laugh is worth a lot. tough week but hey, that’s life right. we take the good with the bad and find a way to laugh through it all. ice cream works for me too. 🙂

  10. This is true. Life has its downs and its challenges and those evil step mothers and bad wolves that teach us how to stand tall. But, I think that is what makes a fairy tale. After all that trouble and pain, at some point, there is a reason to smile, to be happy and, maybe even find love, despite it all.

  11. Brutal and true. But realising this about life is half-way to dealing with the inevitable shitstorms!

  12. I’m glad you didn’t read my bedtime stories!!!!! 🙂 But so very true …. fairytales often have dark undertones which reek of real life horrors, disasters and difficult times.

  13. All of these “fairly tales” are false advertisement and can scar kids as much as telling them Santa clause, the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny aren’t real. Just setting parents up to fail and for kids to not trust them. Loved this post.

  14. When you commented on my blog, I was trawling through yours 🙂

    This is all so true. The original Grimm’s fairytales were actually quite dark and sinister but they were later cleaned up for Ladybird and Disney.

    I suppose we often develop unrealistic expectations as children, only to have these shattered as we get older. It’s all part of growing up.

  15. Ain’t that the truth!

  16. Suzanne Fluhr (Boomeresque)

    Carpe diem, Baby. I’ll be 60 in a few days. This #*&@ is serious!

  17. Very true. Wisdom for this Sunday morning, thank you. & blessings to you and yours

  18. I’m going to go out on a limb here – but, I love Sly Stallone’s monologue from Rocky VI that the fighter gives, in an attempt to rally his ‘unhappy’ son.
    Writing is another way (unless you’re a cinema prize-fighter who’s in his 6th cinematic go-round) of easing the sad.
    LIfe is as life does – I believe – It’s making the good days, great and the bad days, good. Then there is the really unfair or melancholy crap in between, but with a name like Icescreammama at the end of the day I’m pretty sure you’ll do your best to find a colored sprinkle or two… 🙂 I hope all is going better for you. Have a nice Sunday…

    • i love all Sly’s motivational monologues!! there’s one in 5 that’s killer!! and yes, i am a rainbow sprinkle kind of gal, but some days, you need to vent out the bleh. sometimes, it makes me feel better to get it out. thank you. 🙂


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