‘Do you wanna build a snowman?’

In some parts of the country, especially in the North-west of Ireland, children perhaps have snowmen fatigue. Here in the balmy climes of Dublin, to my children’s disgust, there has been scant evidence of proper white stuff. Last week a light dusting deigned to stay put and a hasty miniature (read sad) little snowman was constructed and quickly photographed before the snow turned to sleet and he started to melt inexorably earthwards. Just like Frozen’s Olaf in front of that roaring fire…

The popularity of Disney’s Frozen knows no bounds with small people. My six-year-old youngest daughter regularly declares ‘I hate Princesses’ and just as I say ‘Bravo, no stereotypical brainwashing affecting your life choices, you clever child…’ she adds this caveat: ‘Except Elsa and Anna’.

Well obviously.

To be fair she has chosen well. As Disney Princesses go they are a long way from Cinderella, who gets to shine at housework and scores a 10 dancing in a fairytale ballgown, so securing her Prince. Yada yada yada. Tangled, which is a modern take on Rapunzel, has a heroine who although feisty and able to handle a frying pan as weapon, still needs the bandit Flynn Rider to help rescue her from the clutches of the evil mother figure.

Not so in Frozen. This is essentially a story about sisters (who happen to be Princesses, well this is Disney, not Albert Square). A story about sisters who love each other, but after a childhood incident (Elsa’s accidental freezing of Anna’s head?!), they are kept apart for safety’s sake. They grow up, they have different temperaments and they grow apart because they stop communicating and the childhood incident is kept a secret. These girls are strong, they are intelligent, they are infuriating and via a few ice palaces, eternal winter, and adventures with a reindeer and a hilarious snowman called Olaf they reconcile their relationship, defeat the baddies, fall in and out of love, and live happily ever after on their own terms.

The key to the resolution of the story, which is the removal of the ice from Anna’s heart, is an act of true love. It first appears that this act will come from Prince Hans (a baddie) or Sven, the strong, handsome man (a goodie) who has helped Anna in her quest to reconcile with her sister. But no, actually Anna saves herself. In an act of true love she steps between her sister and what threatens to kill her, thus saving both Elsa and ultimately herself, as the magic is broken and her frozen heart can thaw.

Life is not a Disney movie and heck I’m glad of that! Nor thankfully is it much like the goings on in Albert Square, but life is all about relationships. With friends, spouses, children, siblings, work colleagues and even the person who serves you your life-giving coffee before work every morning. Are we mindful of those relationships? Do we take them for granted or do we consciously work at them and make sure we keep them in good working order, fit for purpose. For that is, I believe, one of our main purposes on this good earth, loving one another and putting others before ourselves.

For the most part this isn’t too hard as we all hopefully have people around us who we actually like spending time with, and so it might just asking someone if they ‘wanna build a snowman’ or perhaps have a coffee. It definitely means listening to someone properly with our full attention and our phone firmly in our pocket. It gets trickier when it’s the relationships we aren’t so sold on. The annoying person who always finishes the milk at work without replacing it, the needy relative, the door to door frozen foods man (don’t get me started). But there’s no excuse for behaving poorly towards these people. Lets work hard at all our relationships and when things get hard just have a belt at ‘Let it go, let it go, don’t hold it back anymore…’ Things always seem a bit better after that!

by Diane Jackson (Dublin)

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