It’s a Thursday post which means this post was inspired by the site, http://www.mamakatslosinit.com who sends out weekly writing prompts to those of us in dire need of fresh, compelling topics on which to compose our prose. This week’s topic: What do your kids have that you always wanted when you were a kid?
I want an American Girl doll. It’s that simple. My daughter has FIVE dolls and is not willing to share a single one of them with me. Not that it matters. I want my own. (And yes, I admit that I am NOT a child, at least not chronologically that is.)
I have always wanted the “IT” doll. (No, not that scary clown from the Stephen King novel by the same name.) I have always wanted the doll that I could never have. When I was a child it was an old-fashioned china doll from Germany. (See Exhibit A)
My elementary school best friend, Debbie Thalheimer, had one and I used to beg her to let me sleep with it. I’m not sure why but my parents either didn’t have the means or the desire to search out or buy an authentic china doll for me. So, I would schedule sleep overs at Debbie’s house just so I could play and sleep with her doll. Eventually, Debbie left for boarding school and I started junior high. That was the end of the “China Doll Sleep Overs.” But I never forgot my sadness at never owning an authentic china doll.
When I went to overnight camp the summer I turned twelve, I was introduced to Xavier Roberts and his remarkable (but ugly) Cabbage Patch dolls. (This was before the company was purchased and the dolls mass marketed.) One of my counselors have a GENUINE Cabbage Patch and I wrote numerous letters home that summer begging my parents to spend $40 and buy me a doll. I can’t recall if I offered to send them the address of the doll maker but it wouldn’t surprise me if I had.
Alas, my parents ignored my desperate requests. When the company was sold and Coleco took over the production of the dolls, they started being massed produced then…well, you know the story. Everyone had a Cabbage Patch doll…Except me. My grandparents bought me a knock off. Trust me, it wasn’t the same as having that sweet smelling baby doll with the Xavier Roberts signature tattoo on its bum. Sweet was the last word that I would use for the knock-off.
By the time I eventually received a REAL Cabbage Patch doll, I was probably 18 years old and my high school boyfriend thought that it would be cute to get me one. Honestly, it was too late. That doll had no chance of ever being loved by me.
Fast forward a few decades and I discovered a new love: an American Girl doll. And I finally found the excuse to get the “IT” doll: I have a DAUGHTER. I have no qualms about using her to get the doll of my dreams. (No judging allowed!)
When K was five, my mother, her best friend, my niece (age 11) and my sister came to Chicago to visit and, yes, to go to the American Girl store. My mother planned on buying my daughter her first American Girl doll. But I harbored a secret: I wanted my mother to buy me a doll. I even knew which doll I wanted: Samantha. If it came down to a choice between K or me, I chose ME! K will get over the disappointment. After, this is MY MOTHER !
But my mother did not share my opinion. And did not seem to understand that Samantha Parkington was the PERFECT Victorian era doll. And for as long as I can remember, I have had a “thing” for all things Victorian. As we walked down Michigan Avenue on that cold November day, I mustered up as much courage as I could and asked my mother if she would buy me a doll. And what did my mother say?
“Ahhh,,,,No. You ARE kidding right?”
I laughed the whole thing off and stated that “Of course, I was just playing with you.” But I wasn’t. And my mother’s best friend knew it. She even encouraged my mother to buy that doll for me. But my mother held firm and refused to even entertain the thought that she should buy her grown daughter a doll. (Note to self: When K is an adult and a mother, should she ask me to buy her a doll, I WILL DO IT! No questions asked! I am HER MOTHER after all!)
So I did what any self-respecting (and slightly jealous) mother of a small child would do: I tried to manipulate my daughter into choosing Samantha. But that stubborn and unappreciative child refused to help out her mommy! Instead the ankle biter chose a look-alike doll who she named “Molly.” The doll doesn’t even look like her! (But I am not bitter, am I?)
Then the American Girl company retired Samantha! My mother had a chance to BUY ME THAT DOLL and now IT’S TOO LATE! I will never get my dream doll! (And, yes, I understand that I sound spoiled and a bit whiny!)
To answer your question, Mama Kat, my daughter has the “IT” doll: the one toy that I never had growing up. She has American Girl dolls and I want one of my own. Now, I am sure with time and the right financing, I could find someone who would be willing to sell me a Samantha doll. But, it’s not the same when you have to buy your own doll (especially when you are 40 and harboring a slight grudge against your own sweet child.)
So does my confession make me a bad person? I don’t think so. An overly indulged and slightly eccentric adult? Maybe. But you asked and I answered. I am sure that I am not alone in my secret wish to have my own American Girl doll; I just may be older than the average girl.