Friday, August 31st, 2007 at 4:50 pm in Parenting Issues.
It was a fairy-tale come to life. I was 8 years old and living in England when Lady Diana became the Princess of Wales. The dress, the horse-drawn carriages, the massive cathedral — they added up to any little girl’s dream of Cinderella come to life. Only later, as a grown-up, would I read and understand that a princess can live a hard life. I would come to realize this princess was far from perfect, but hearing about her eating disorders and marital problems just made her all the more real.
But what really stands out, from her life and now 10 years after her death, is the way she parented her sons. Sure, they’ve made their share of mistakes. What kids haven’t? When it’s all said and done, however, Princes William and Harry speak eloquently, give of themselves through charity, have served in the military with dignity and perhaps most impressively, have come to accept their father’s second wife, Camilla, with more than just civility. Their ability to be so welcoming is selfless, exactly what you’d expect from the sons of Princess Diana.
Today marks the 10-year anniversary of her death. In remembrance, we hear how she gave of herself to so many charities. How she showed no fear in embracing sick children, and in doing so, helped the world to realize there was no danger from people with AIDS. And how when her marriage ended, she showed the world a composure that so expertly masked the turmoil of her life. She was an example in so many ways, not the least of which was the devotion with which she raised her children.
See for yourself in the words her youngest son, Prince Harry, shared at today’s memorial service: “She kissed us last thing at night. Her beaming smile greeted us from school. She laughed hysterically and uncontrollably when sharing something silly she might have said or done that day.” What was important, Harry said, was “that we remember our mother as she would wish to be remembered, as she was: fun-loving, generous, down to earth and entirely genuine.”
Twenty-six years ago, I was enamored by a fairy-tale. Today, all grown-up, I’m humbled by the example she set. If only every mother, one day at her passing, could be remembered with such heart-felt profoundness. Today is a reminder that every parent’s true legacy lives within our children.
— Ann Tatko-Peterson