Giving my Children the Moon (A Second Time)

Sometimes the best time to see the moon is at daytime.

Once upon a time a princess looked out her bedroom window and sighed. “What is the matter?” Her mother asked. “Can you bring me the moon?” The princess replied. The queen had a necklace made with a silver crescent moon pendant and gave it to the princess. “That is not the moon,” the princess said, and became sad. The general gave her an ivory moon figurine. “That is not the moon,” the princess said and became more sad. The castle cook baked the princess a moon-shaped cheese souffle. “That is not the moon,” sighed the princess and became more and more sad.

Everybody in the castle tried to cheer up the sad princess. The court jester brought her outside and showed her a reflection of the moon in water. “That is not the moon,” said the princess and sadly distorted the reflection with her hand. The queen was at her wits’ end. She knew she could not give the moon to her daughter. The princess grew sadder and sadder every day, staring nightly at the moon. One day a storyteller came to the castle. He asked the princess: “What is the moon?” The princess looked outside at the full moon. “It is small and round, not bigger than my finger nail,” she replied. “It is a silver coin exactly that size.” Now the story teller could give the princess the moon.

The princess grew happier, but at night the moon came up again, and the storyteller and queen trembled that the princess see it. “That is the new moon,” replied the princess. “Mine is the moon from last night.”

I too, like the queen, would like to give my children the moon. I would like to be for them an anchor, a safe harbor, a haven in the midst of the turmoils and storms of life. A place of repose where they can rest and renew and feel supported and loved. But I am not an anchor. Nor am I a haven by any means. Most often, I am swayed by my emotions on an open sea, blown here and there seemingly at random. If anything, it is I who needs an anchor, a safe harbor, before I can be the same for my kids.

Strangely, I never asked the kids if they need an anchor. I suspect that attention rather than stability would probably be their preferred moon. Eden just asked if I could read her a book, and Uri woke up at five and asked for a hug. They want me to play with them and listen to them, read to them and go on adventures with them, jump on the trampoline or lounge in front of the TV with them. They do not want a cumbersome old moon. And once I give the children my attention, the winds of my mood lighten and calm, as though the kids are my safe harbor, my haven, for at least that little bit of playtime.

This is one version of the fairy tale The Princess who Wanted the Moon.

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Sigal Tzoore (650) 815-5109