We're still wiping tears from our eyes after watching Michael Jackson's 11-year-old daughter Paris speak at her father's memorial yesterday. "Ever since I was born," she said, "Daddy has been the best father I could ever imagine. And I just want to say, I love him so much." Then she broke down and hugged her aunt Janet. Her brothers, 12-year-old Prince Michael I and 7-year-old Prince Michael II (aka "Blanket"), didn't speak, but you could see on their faces that they felt the same way.
Do you find the Jackson kids as interesting as we do? Think about Paris. Imagine being 11 and the daughter of one of the most famous people in the world. And not just famous, but infamous -- loved and adored, yet also hated and judged and mocked. You travel constantly and when you go out, say, shopping on your birthday, you have to wear a scarf over your face while fans and papparazzi hound you. Then your dad dies suddenly, and it's not just you and your family grieving. It's millions and millions of people, and his picture is everywhere.
Paris and her brothers have definitely lived a strange life so far. People are saying, maybe that life will get more normal from now on. But really, are they so different from some other tweens? They've been raised by one parent and never knew the other. They're homeschooled. They've moved around a lot. Their dad was pretty weird, yes -- but aren't all dads weird, even a little, in their own way? And now that they've lost him, they'll be living with relatives and have to rely on an extended family for support. Take away the fame and money and headlines, and in the end they're just kids who face a lot of challenges. Besides, what seems "strange" to us probably feels perfectly "normal" to them.
We wish Paris, Prince, and Blanket lots of strength and hope for the future. May they each find a private, personal way of dealing with a very public death.