Spoiler Alert! If you haven’t seen Frozen, and you don’t want to know anything about it, stop here. For real. Stop. I warned you.

 

The premise of Disney’s juggernaut, Frozen, is beautiful and simple (as most beautiful things are): true love overcomes fear. A young woman, Queen Elsa, is born with the power to create winter. At an early age, she accidentally strikes her younger sister, Anna, in the head with her powers, and when her family takes Anna to be healed, Elsa is warned that “Fear will be your enemy.” The family misinterprets the prophecy, thinking that the fear that needs to be contained is that of other people. They subsequently lock Elsa away, keeping her hidden from other people, and try to teach her to successfully “pass” as a non-magical person. (To be fair, the prophecy shows Elsa being attacked by a mob, so it makes sense that her parents would think that the prophecy is warning against other people judging her unfairly and thinking that she’s a “wicked sorceress.” This is why I don’t blame Elsa’s parents for secluding her, which I know has been a big issue of complaint from the Frozen fan base.) This, of course, creates enormous fear in Elsa, and she lives in constant worry that others will discover her powers. Elsa’s fear, though, is what makes her powers dangerous and uncontrollable. It is not until her little sister, Anna, demonstrates that she truly loves her sister, flaws and all, that Elsa’s fears are shattered, and she is able to thaw the endless winter she has created and control her powers. Finally, she is able to use them for good.

And there’s a talking snowman.

Who rocks.

As a mother of two daughters (two sisters who bicker, fight, hold hands, hug, and love), I have seen this movie approximately 812 times. And I still cry at the end. And at the beginning (“Do you want to build a snowman?” Oh, god. I can’t.). I think that it’s Disney’s biggest triumph to date.

But I also know that its singular premise is deeply, deeply flawed.

Because I have true love in my life.

And because of that, I know what true fear feels like.

True fear is knowing that my very being is wrapped up in two tiny girls with blue and hazel eyes.

True fear is making sure that I whisper “I love you” to them every single night, just in case one of us doesn’t wake up in the morning.

True fear is fervently praying that it will be them who will wake up to the sun. Always.

True fear is recognizing that I mean nothing compared to them. That I would give everything that I am—my body, my mind, my very soul—for them. And I would do it without hesitation. Without question.

True fear is going into labor too early, and giving birth to a girl who can’t breathe on her own.

True fear is a well-lit NICU.

True fear is the way that time seems to suspend itself indefinitely in the half a second it takes for my two-year-old to run down our driveway and into the street.

True fear is being able to run faster than I’ve ever moved before, just to throw my own body in front of hers when I see our neighbor’s car turn the corner.

True fear is realizing that nothing—nothing—is worthwhile without them.

True fear is a part of true love.

But my heart isn’t frozen.

Because I don’t live in those moments of fear.

They’re always there. And they’re normal. Even, dare I say, healthy.  It’s good every now and then to sob, to cry, to hold my babies tight-tight and smell the sunshine that clings to their hair. But it’s even better to let them go.

Because when I see them run.  When I hear them laugh.  When I watch them pick blades of grass and smell the greenness.  Or press their cheeks and bellies against our French door, to feel the cool glass. Or kiss each others’ faces and hair. That’s when I can forget to be afraid.

When I marvel at my toddler’s love of books and stories.

When I watch my one-year-old furrow her brow and work all day, just to figure out how to climb up onto a chair and get back down again.

When I see them crawl into a single bed together and speak to each other in a language all their own.

A language that is full of smiles and clapping.

Even when I see them push each other, and fight and cry over who gets to play with their Olaf doll.

I forget the fear.

Because the love is stronger.

True love doesn’t overcome fear. They walk hand-in-hand together, sometimes one leads, sometimes the other. Sometimes one needs to carry the other. I haven’t figured out how to break the connection between these two. It seems one can’t quite exist without the other. They have a bond I can’t explain.

They are sisters.

As much a part of my life as a mother as my own children.

 

I have no grand take-away for this. My true fear was born at the same time as my true love. I have no tips for you. I don’t know how to get rid of it. I don’t know if I can. I don’t even think I want to.

Perhaps that’s how I am able to live within the loving fear. Perhaps that’s how I’m able to stay warm, to keep the summer sunshine filtering down through my heart.

Because I accept the true fear.

Maybe, in a way, I love it.

Because the terrifying truth of motherhood is that it is terrifying.

I’d die for them.

I’d burn.

I’d melt.

It’s that simple.

And beautiful.

Team Olaf all the way!

Team Olaf all the way!

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