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My Little Mermaid

Making her happy made me happy

little girl in pink dress twirling on a forest path
Photo by Вячеслав Шах_Гусейнов:

My eldest will forever be a Disney princess fan. She loves everything about the stories of Rapunzel, Mulan, Belle, Cinderella — the whole gaggle of them.

The dresses, romances, the music, the happily-ever-afters.

My daughter is not 8 years old. She’s 23.

She’s a songwriter and so she lives in a world of story-telling and all the emotions that make a good story into a great song.

I’m sure that explains it.

A hopeless romantic, whoever she dates long-term is going to have to be quite the prince. He won’t stand a chance if he can’t woo her by singing a ballad while on horseback donning a white ruffled shirt.

Lord help that man…

When the Little Mermaid remake came out she couldn’t wait to go. We picked up a friend of hers and her mom, who is also a friend of mine (so very perfect), and we went to see the movie together.

Wow. What a lot of work. The graphics were outstanding, the whole movie was a spectacle.

When the actress who played Ariel had finished singing her main solo, Part of Your World, I couldn't keep myself from clapping in the theatre. Her voice was perfect. She should be so proud of herself.

Right in the middle of that song, a memory rushed back to me from 35 years ago.

I was a camp counselor for a summer day camp when I was 18 years old.

The original Disney animated Little Mermaid had come out several months earlier and the music was a favourite with all the adorable four and five-year-old girls who I was responsible for on those hot summer days.

There was one little girl — it pains me that I can’t remember her name — who came to camp for a few weeks and so I got to know her better than some of the other one-week-camp-session kids.

She was as cute as any four-year-old can be. With chubby fingers and a cheeky attitude, we had some adorable conversations.

And she was in love with Ariel. Oh so in love.

Was it a morning camp or a full day? I don’t remember. But there was a required quiet time when all the kids had to spend some time on a tiny cot to have a nap. Surprisingly, many of them curled up and did just that. The water play and outside games were enough to wear those little ones out.

But my spunky 4-year-old friend could not fall asleep most days. Laying on that cot was not her ‘thing’.

So, at her request, we would quietly sit and sing/whisper to a cassette of the soundtrack from the Little Mermaid movie. Mostly, we played Ariel’s main solo over and over and over again. We’d hit ‘rewind’ and ‘play’ as many times as we could get away with it.

What a sweet memory — her pudgy hand in mine as we tip-toed to the cassette recorder in the dimmed room, her perfect raspy voice. I’m sure she believed she was a mermaid as we sang.

Where is she now? Is it possible that now, as a woman in her early forties, she’s taken her daughter to the same movie? And during Part of Your World, might she have had a recollection of a camp counselor and nap time and whisper-singing that endearing song together all those years ago?

I’m thankful to have had three of my own adorable 4 year-olds over the years — at different times of course. No triplets in this family. Now my babes are all grown up and ‘adorable’ just isn’t the describing adjective I’d use for them anymore.

But oh, that sweet, pre-school age.

It’s fascinating how many memories we have stored away in these brains of ours. Nothing was life-changing about remembering that tot from so long ago.

But making her happy made me happy that summer.

And it made me happy again 35 years later, in a movie theatre far from that sleepy room where I’d crouched in front of a cassette deck making a little girl’s dreaded nap times just a touch more magical.

I wish I could remember her name…but at least I remember her.

I hope she still has days of singing and twirling — arms swaying way up over her head.

Disney princesses are not always my cuppa tea. But I’m glad I took my daughter’s lead and ventured to the theatre that night.

May we all live a part of each day as a 4-year-old mermaid.

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Jun 24, 2023

Memories are amazing thIngs!

thanks for sharing yours!

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Yes, they are...thanks for reaching out!


What a sweet memory. You tell the mermaid story so well I can envision the two of you whisper singing. How wonderful if she would read this and remember too.

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Thanks Cheryl xo

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