A tragedy struck today which could only be a tragedy in houses like ours, where there is a special Dollie that is loved like no other dolly was before. Or to be less melodramatic, where there is a favorite doll that is loved to bits. Literally, bits.
This doll was a Cabbage Patch Preemie, brand new on Christmas Eve, 1985, when my aunt and uncle gifted me with her and fulfilled my kindergarten ambition–to adopt a Cabbage Patch doll. I still have the “adoption papers” in my old baby book that show in 1986 I adopted “Ella Giselle” and renamed her “Melissa Ann.” Now that I’m much older, I kind of think the first name had some character to it, and that my replacement was totally snagged from the names of girls at school–which it was. In any event, either was better than what my sister got; her first Cabbage Patch was named “Morris.”
I digress a little. Melissa was my doll for my main dolly years. I did graduate to an American Girl doll, but I was “old” then–eleven, and the doll years were ending. But Melissa came with me to college and was packed away in the box for our children after our wedding. I kind of expected her to be on the shelf; she wasn’t the prettiest doll, and I had blissfully bought each of our three older daughters their own Bitty Baby.
In a way that was a bad idea. One doll was practically ready for retirement (I found it on eBay) and it developed silver eye. The other two just weren’t chosen as the One and Only Plaything to Take Along With Me. Miss M was the first to really show a consistent interest in dolls, but not the Bitty Babies. She picked “Melissa.”
And so my first favorite doll had a great two-year run as favorite doll again, perhaps even more loved than she had ever been. But age caught up with her, and even as I patched her up again I figured time was running out. She already had two fabric swatches covering the hole in her tum from the time Sunshine discovered scissors. A third swatch in her back, the arm coming loose, and today Miss M brought her to me with a gaping hole near her neck, right where I had stitched before.
I knew it couldn’t take another stitch. So I hid the doll away and told Miss M that I couldn’t fix Dollie.
“It’s okay,” she said confidently. “You fix Dollie and then we go to [favorite grocery store.]” With the sweetest smile.
“Well, dear, Mommy can’t fix this one. It’s just too big.”
And then her 9yr old brother decides that she’s just not getting it and chimes in, as only brothers can: “[Miss M,] Dollie’s DEAD.”
As I glare at him, Miss M shoots him a quivering lip. “Dollie’s NOT DEAD.”
So I repeat gently that I cannot fix the doll and go off in search of the last two Bitty Babies. I first present the one Santa had brought her, but again it was still inadequate. To salvage my wounded pride, Littlest scrambled over and was happy to claim that Bitty Baby.
I walked into the kitchen, wondering what I was going to do. The innocent heartbreak of a child deprived of a favorite toy was overriding my common sense. I was certainly willing to drive the girl to Target and find a new Dollie, so help me!
Then Princess came into the room and announced that Miss M had chosen the other Bitty Baby, the brunette one that already sported a scuffed head (those brunette ones only look magazine perfect for about two weeks, I’m sure). I rushed back into the girls’ room and saw that it was true; Miss M was sitting on Posey’s bed cuddling the Bitty Baby and began pointing out to me the slightly more realistic features on this doll’s face and hands. I pointed out that she and the doll had the same color eyes and that the doll was just right for hugs. Miss M approved.
And just as all was right in the world, Princess accidentally pulled out one set of the doll’s eyelashes while demonstrating how it’s eyes closed when asleep.
Devastation again! But I reassured her that her Daddy could fix it when he got back from work. He did so in his workshop, with the new mommy gravely watching to make sure that all went well. And now she sleeps with her “new” Dollie, who I think will need another name. When I asked if Dollie was comfortable, she shook her head and said, “Dollie’s dead.”
Grr. Thanks a lot, Rascal!