Ancient History

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ceiling by third floor checkout line80% of my children are male. Locked in the minority, but never silenced or bullied, is my lone daughter. My girl.

I joke that had I known she would be our only girl I would have given her a very girly name like Elizabelliarella Gwenmarierose. She carries around a boys’ name in a home full of boys and I feel for her. She doesn’t know the joy of true sisterhood. We compensate by painting her room “Pinwheel Pink” and lining dolls on her hutch as if they were The Porcelein Guard, sworn to protect their Hello Kitty-pajama-clad mistress from the slow but steady invasion of Thomas the Tank Engine. And his friends.

The Chicago trip was perfect. It required her to keep up with the rigors of travel like a big kid at the same time it celebrated her young girlhood. Everything that happened in the periphery (including meeting Coach Ditka) was fun and welcome. Our focus remained on going to the American Girl Place, however. looking

The first time went went, we left her doll (currently named Samantha, but it isn’t the Samantha you may know from American girl—Aidan just likes the name) back at the hotel. Samantha had jet lag. In a doll it manifests itself in the inability to keep blinky eyes open and droopy hair. Aidan wanted to surprise Samantha with a new dress to wear to the theater and dinner in the evening, so the nap worked out well.

American Girl Place is three stories of dolls, clothes, doll-clothes, girls, mothers, a few fathers, thousands and thousands of employees, a theater, a restaurant, coat check rooms, escalators, a doll salon, a doll hospital, a bookstore, a new line of “beauty” products for girls in the form of sweet smelling lotions, shampoos, and perfumes, and museum-styled educational displays with historical artifacts celebrating the stories of the original American Girl dolls. We admired Kaya’s Native American display, complete with authentic clothing, baskets, and tools. The sparse and humble depiction of Addy’s world as an escaped slave was in direct opposition to Samantha’s priviledged background and the world of comfort and luxury she enjoyed. The disparity wasn’t lost on Aidan.

aidan thinks penny is from heavenThe disparity isn’t lost on me, either. American Girl dolls are undeniably expensive. In their defense they are very well made and not intended for girls under the age of eight (younger girls are steered toward Bitty Babies). The clothing is beautifully designed and sewn. The accompaning stories are exciting with solid, strong moral lessons. I picture Aidan treasuring Samantha her whole lifetime, especially now that so many special memories surround her history. I think her doll will be an heirloom someday, her value boosted by the dreaming, scheming, traveling, and tender care of Aidan.

It was busy. Chirping, happy, wide-eyed girls carried their beloved dolls and shopping bags while parents snapped pictures. We searched for special souvenirs for Aidan and a dress for Samantha. She chose a t-shirt featuring Coconut, a little white dog. She also got a necklace with a pink-saddled horse. The perfect dress was eventually found. We left to rest for a few hours before our big night…

8 comments to Girls

  • My heart is breaking for a little girl right now . . . you are SO BLESSED to have Aidan! My grandmother made porcelain dolls, some of which she passed down to me, and I am going to be so disappointed if I have no one to pass them on to. I do have a neice, fortunately. The funny thing is, I was a tomboy with almost no interest in dolls. Maybe I’m trying to make up for it in adulthood or something. In which case, maybe it would be better not to have a daughter on whom to inflict my vicarious living, hmm?

  • Tracy (tjly)

    What a lovely, lovely time you had! Thank you so much for sharing! I am really enjoying this!

  • What a wonderful place! It’s little girl paradise.

  • Oh man, I love this. This trip will be on of her favourite memories, I’m sure

  • I’m so enjoying reading about your trip! Sounds like the American Girl place is a great mother/daughter place to go!

  • So when are your memoirs coming out on paperback? You are such a good writer. I love your blog! I had a mother/daughter moment today that made me think of you and Aidan. It is a blessed sisterhood! Aidan looks as though she is on the cusp of all things adult…enjoy this time, G. I know you are!

    p.s. I got a Bitty Baby from Scott two years ago for Christmas. 🙂 I had always wanted one.

  • What a wonderful adventure you guys had! I’m so glad you’re sharing it with us. I’m sure you will both treasure these memories for a lifetime.

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