When Walt Disney Pictures released their 53rd animated feature film, Frozen, in 2013, we pretty much ignored it. I was intrigued by the connection to Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale "The Snow Queen," but not enough to pay for movie tickets. Years later, a weekend stay at the Hilton Orange County brought Frozen to the forefront of my family's life. You have no idea the impact it has had since then.
Getting ready one morning in the hotel room, we turned on the flatscreen in hopes of finding a cartoon or kids' movie to keep Zach occupied while we brushed, flossed, and dressed. I was attending a conference and needed to gather snacks, water, and notebooks before heading downstairs to the banquet rooms. My husband found Frozen on some cable channel and left it on for Zach to watch.
And watch he did. We hadn't seen his blue eyes glued to the screen like that since the days of Thomas, Percy, Gordon, and Sir Topham Hatt. So enraptured was he that we didn't have breakfast together: I left for my conference with coffee in hand, and they stayed in the room to watch the movie. I'm sure my husband was thrilled.
I received a text almost two hours later saying that Frozen was over, and they were grabbing lunch. Zach had remained sitting on the edge of the bed watching Anna and Elsa save Arendelle from perpetual winter for two hours. Thus began the Age of Elsa for Zach, my husband, and me. And our entire family, really, whose birthday and Christmas shopping for almost two years was centered on anything and everything related to Princess Elsa and her younger sister.
To this day, we are owners of a life-size Elsa poster, an Elsa kite, seven Elsa puzzles (featuring Kristoff, Sven, Hans, and others), a Frozen memory game, Frozen Surprise Slides board game, Frozen bedsheets, and a beloved Elsa cup. Let's not forget the Elsa basketball. Nor the custom-made hoodie (also beloved). The beach towel. The 500-page sticker book. She became like a two-dimensional daughter to me.
Now, with the games and such, we could keep Elsa and her cohorts on a shelf or in a large wicker basket with a lid. I didn't have to see her everyday, as much as I liked her. But when Zach found his most prized Elsa possession in an antique store in Minden, NV, Elsa moved in and remained on our kitchen counter for almost a year and a half. She was, virtually, frozen to the granite countertop.
Hardly an antique, a package of Elsa placemats wrapped in tacky cellophane accompanied us home from a vacation. We could not pack it; it sat on the seat next to Elsa's #1 fan, all the way home...smoothed out and carefully tended. Upon arriving home, Zach decided that the island in our kitchen was THE place for these flimsy placemats bearing her portrait. Little did I know that this meant I could not move them. At all. For 16 months.
Believe me, I tried. I had nothing against Elsa - it's not like the love-hate relationship so many parents have had with Barney or Caillou. I actually did like the movie, and we were looking forward to the release of Frozen 2.
I just didn't want the Snow Queen watching me cook or take my vitamins every day. If I came down to the kitchen at 2 A.M., there she was, looking sideways at me. Each day, I had to take precautions so as not to splatter the Princess' face while scrambling eggs or stirring pancake batter. It grew tiresome.
One day, as I hatched a secret plan to relocate 2-D Elsa, Zach and I crafted: we did a Makit&Bakit sun catcher. After the green, white, and grey "stained glass" horse cooled, I was both amused and dismayed to see Zach find a place for it. With extra care, he situated the palm-sized horse on Elsa's shoulder. I should have figured that the horse reminded him of Nøkk, the water spirit, Elsa's steed.
There was no chance of banning Elsa + Nøkk from the kitchen now; the granite countertop was their ice palace, and they were staying put. I could not let them go. The only plan of action was to preempt visits from Marshmallow, Anna, Kristoff, Sven, and Hans. Especially Hans. I'd possibly allow Olaf.
As Christmas decorations were being put away, I piled snowmen, Santas, and nutcrackers on the countertop. Elsa was being gradually concealed. As boxes were packed, Elsa and her horse made, shall we say, a magical disappearance.
The good news is Zach didn't stress about it. He glanced once or twice at the vacancy, but he didn't point or seem frantic. All he had to do was find the 50 other Frozen-related goodies elsewhere in the house to get his Elsa fix.
It's been many years since the various voices of George Carlin graced our DVD player with tales of Thomas the Tank Engine; I miss Thomas and his exploits. Our house was inundated with Thomas paraphernalia for a very long time. I suppose a few years from now, I'll miss Elsa and her friends, too. For the first time in forever, my kitchen countertop looks as sleek as ice.