Me: (smiling into his hair) Did the glass slippers pinch your feet?
Hank: No. I wasn’t Cinderella. I was me, but I had to live with Cinderella’s cruel family. They were so mean to me.
Me: That is a bad dream.
Hank: And even now that I am awake I close my eyes and I can still be in the dream.
Me: (hugging him close) I am so sorry, Hank. The worst dreams are the truest.
Me: You know, I think you are a lot like Cinderella.
Hank: (giving me a questioning look)
Me: Accept for the princess/girl part. Your hearts are alike. You are also truly kind and brave and it is a sad truth that you will meet cruel people in your life. Not everyone in the world is like you. You will know people who are mean to you, who don’t like you simply because you are lovely. This will happen and that scares me a bit too. The key is to be brave, to know who you are and to stay true to yourself and not let cruelty change you.
Me: Cinderella’s family were abusive and awful to her and she could have been changed by that. She could have either become cruel like them, or to become a victim and let their cruelty break her spirit, but instead she fought them with the strength to not let them change her and in the end she with a little help, because there is nothing wrong with accepting help, was able to live her best life and be happy.
Hank: And become a queen.
Me: Added bonus, but I have a feeling that even if she were to leave their abuse and work in the kitchen of another house she would have made her life happy. When people are mean to you you need to understand that it isn’t about you, it is about them, but you should never let someone abuse you. Never think you need to change because of what cruel people do or say.
Hank: In my head I am still stuck in the dream. I close my eyes and the meanness… It breaks my heart.
Me: (hugging him tight) The world is not kind or fair. It is not the world’s job to give you a good life. You make your life. YOU have to choose to be kind and you have the power to surround yourself with kindness and to promote kindness. My wish is for you to grow up, turn your back on cruelty, and make your personal world a lovely, happy place and to help others where your can. It takes bravery to tell cruel people that they have no power over you and it takes kindness to know you deserve better. You have to know that you also deserve kindness. You must also be kind to yourself.
Me: Most people who watch Cinderella focus on the princessieness, or the fact that she is (air-quotes) “rescued” by a prince, or the magical fairy godmother, but you saw the truth of the story. You saw the sadness, but what you need to remember is sadness is a part of life, but brave people escape sadness where as weak people are made cruel by it.
Hank: She… The Stepmother, her heart was broken and she never worked hard to fix it, did she?
Hank: (deep sigh) I am going to try to sleep again, but this time think of happier things.