When I was a little girl I had a doll named Molly. She was one of those 1970s hard dolls with the scratchy hair and the eyes that closed when she laid down. Nothing great.
But I loved her.
She was brave. She was strong. She was funny. She was pretty. She was spunky. She was everything I wanted to be. As an introvert with a speech impediment, she was my hero.
I was devastated when something happened to her-- I don't remember if I got her wet when I shouldn't have or not, but her eyes were corroded. It was so bad that my parents actually considered sending her to a doll hospital. I don't think she was the quality that was reparable. I was around 4. The details are vague, but the feelings were very memorable.
Her tragic demise and my depression may have resulted in the arrival of my Baby Chrissy doll (the one with the hair that 'grew') but I always remembered what a great friend she was.
Flash ahead about 40 years... I was lying next to my daughter reading one night.
She is brave. She is strong. She is funny. She is pretty. She is spunky.
She is everything I want to be.
Then it hit me -- she is my Molly come to life.
I told her all about Molly and how she was just like how I pretended Molly would be. And now I finally got to meet her again!
She thought that was very cool.
The next Christmas the American Girl catalog arrived. My daughter was 6 going on 7. She also has an issue with taking care of her things. Most of her dolls were naked or chewed up by the dogs. She never seemed into dolls.
I had an issue with the price and post traumatic stress syndrome. Story below.
(I was in New York visiting my best friend with my then 4 year old son. We had some time before the Radio City Musical Hall Christmas Spectacular so I thought it would be fun to get his baby sister a baby doll from him-- perfect first Christmas gift from her big brother. It was 2 weeks before Christmas. It was JAMMED full of tourists and shrieking, spoiled, squealing little girls. The dads and other menfolk were in the entrance holding purses and bags with dull looks on their faces. Within 5 minutes I was one of them. I completely froze in the little baby section-- horrified at the excess and the shrieking. Completely froze. My son looked up at me and said "Mom, I've got to get you out of here..." he grabbed my hand and navigated me through the packed-- and I mean PACKED store. I had a nice, quiet son. I had no idea what the insanity was that I had just seen. I still get chills thinking about it.)
To say it turned me off from American Girl dolls is an understatement.
I had heard they were great quality. Even as an adult the catalog certainly looked fun...
My daughter and I poured through the catalog together. And then she saw Molly.
The spunky girl from the 1940s. Dark curly hair.
"Oh Mom!! There's a Molly doll! Does that look like yours?"
She sorta did. There was something about her.
But looking around my daughter's room with the toys shoved into bins, marker everywhere, papers all over... no way was I getting her one.
Plus, it seemed like it was cheaper to have an actual child. The dolls' clothes were more expensive than anything I bought my real, live daughter.
Another year passed.
The new catalog came.
I told her if she kept her room clean, we would get her one for her birthday in December. It would be THE gift. She knew it was a big deal.
We looked through all the options-- she loved the movie about Saige-- she is an artist. Then she thought about getting one that looks like her.
Then she saw Molly. Molly was being archived. Her last year.
We had to get her.
I told her I was pretty comfortable that Molly would still be around by her birthday.
Every day she made me check online. Every day. She was panicked.
She could not let Molly be archived.
It sounded awful.
Then on Tuesday she actually cried. She did not want them to send Molly to a warehouse.
She very genuinely wanted a Molly doll. Just like I had my Molly doll.
We had to save her.
So I did it.
Not because she cried, because she genuinely wanted to save a life.
How could we possibly let Molly be archived?!?!
Today her room was IMMACULATE. She said she wanted to be ready for Molly. She has a shelf cleared off for Molly's things. She drew a picture for her door welcoming her. She's been practicing on the Target version she got for her birthday last year.
And on Tuesday my real life Molly gets her Molly.
She saved her from the archives.
Because she is brave. She is strong. She is funny. She is pretty. She is spunky.
She is my hero.