Every little kid is asked the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Answers often include, but are not limited to: firefighters, superheroes, astronauts, fairies, princesses and mermaids.

As these children grow, however, they come to realize that their childhood dreams were just that: dreams. Every once in a while, especially in the case of those little ones who want to become policemen or firefighters, these dreams one day become reality.

For me, I’ve always wanted to be a princess. In a way, I’ve actually been able to fulfill what would seem to be this impossible dream.

You see, I have been blessed with the opportunity to be a princess — several of them — through my work with a local company called Once Upon a Birthday Party, which is involved with children’s birthday parties as well as other events. Princesses with Once Upon a Birthday Party can sometimes be found at public activities such as community festivals or other outreach programs aimed at children.

You might be able to catch one of the princesses at Yakima’s Summitview Starbucks on one Saturday each month, offering a story time to whoever come. Our schedule for this fall includes princess appearances at Sportsman’s Days in Naches during Sept. 6-7, and time visiting Seattle Children’s Hospital in November.

At these events and birthday parties, I’m involved with offering a variety of activities, including face painting, story times, crafts, playing with the children and more. We take pictures with our birthday princes and princesses and do everything we can to make their day as magical as possible.

Each time I work, I get to dress up as one of the different princesses I grew up adoring. Sure, I never actually become a princess, but I get just about as close as one can without literally marrying royalty.

I love my job, and bringing the magic of the movies to life is completely and utterly rewarding. I get to watch little ones meet their favorite princesses they may associate with animated movies or storybooks and see their dreams come true. Having those little eyes looking up to you in awe is a beautiful thing to experience.

I have taken on the role of many different princesses, including Rapunzel, the Little Mermaid, Snow White, and the younger sister from Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen.’

The Little Mermaid is my favorite character to portray, as she is filled with awe for the human world, and her naiveté is a joy to play. The children are always entertained when the Little Mermaid is shocked and amazed by the simplest human artifacts.

Rapunzel and the younger snow sister are similarly enjoyable to portray; while these characters have always been human, their limited contact with the outside world leads to a new level of excitement for the things the average person would find mundane.

The job certainly isn’t for everyone. But as someone who has never outgrown her love of Disney and loves to work with kids, it truly is a dream come true. I get to become someone completely different for the day, and take on the character of imaginary people I have always admired. I get to watch the dreams of little princes and princesses come true as their eyes widen when they see me. And I honestly believe it’s as exciting for me as it is for those I meet.

The thrill of this job has never worn off. Every time I put on a hoopskirt and take on a character, I am overcome with happiness and excitement.

I may not have married a prince, but working as a princess is truly a dream come true.

Meirabelle Brown, a 2019 graduate of Naches Valley High School who is enrolled at Yakima Valley College, has been a member of the Yakima Herald-Republic’s Unleashed program for the past four years.