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Just call me Your Highness

September 8, 2009 - Erin O'Neill
Most of the event is kind of blurry for me. I remember thinking 'I just don't want her to be disappointed.' And then they called her number and I nearly had a heart attack.

My daughter was just named Little Princess for the 2009 Washington County Fair. She was one of 12 other very worthy opponents. Many of them sang, some danced, all of them were adorable. But in the end, I'm sure it was my almost-4-year-old's illuminating personality that was the clincher. That, and an impromptu rendition of 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,' which melted my heart.

The judges were from out of town and I still have no idea who they were, where they were sitting or why they picked my kid. But it absolutely made her year. From the gazillion photos I tried to take, the pride is evident on her little face. And not in a big-headed way. She is honestly, innocently happy with her accomplishment.

And that was the reason I entered her in the first place. I want to instill in her a sense of pride and self-esteem because too many of our young girls are lacking the ability to believe in themselves. Of course, there is also the opposite extreme - the 'toddlers and tiaras' attitudes that a girl is nothing if she isn't beautiful.

This contest wasn't one of those. It was based 50 percent on personality, 30 percent appearance and 20 percent poise. All of the little girls were lovely, some dressed more glamorously than others, but many were shy.

My baby stood up and spoke like she has been on a stage her whole life (it runs in the family). She had no fear and it was evidently clear to others that she comes by it naturally.

As a mom, I couldn't be more pleased and happy. It was the experience of a lifetime for a little girl. I'm not sure if there will be anymore contests or pageants in her future - I leave that decision up to her.

But I hope as she grows older and approaches the nasty teen years, she can have this moment to look back on and remember the time she was princess for a day.


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