Monday, December 06, 2004

Sweet dolly syndrome.

My cousin, henceforce known as C, and I, used to go up to the Big City to do the bulk of our Christmas shopping, with an emphasis on toys for our kids. We would hit Toys R Us like two determined piranha; we knew exactly what we were looking for every year.

For the most part, we were shopping for similar things; her youngest son was only a year older than my son, and they were generally interested in the same dinosaurs, robots, telescopes, etc.

However, I got to do something she didn't get to do. I got to buy a sweet dolly.

It was my favorite thing to shop for, ever. Even now, nothing rivals it.

I absolutely LOVED to shop for the Christmas Dolly. Daughter was never into Barbie (for which I thanked God, fasting. .) but she absolutely adored baby and little girl dolls. (the way ALL dollies should be, but don't get me started on that topic.) Sometimes I still gravitate to the dolly section of a store, and stand there all slack-jawed and goony, remembering those precious Christmases when she was a child, and I "choose" the ONE TRUE DOLLY that Santa himself made expressly for her, and would have brought to the house on Christmas Eve had she not gone and got herself all grown up. I loved choosing that dolly. What would a little princess's Christmas be, without a sweet dolly?

My son was not so much into the sweet dollies, but he did have a Cabbage Patch astronaut doll. He saved his money for months and bought it himself. He didn't like the doll's official name, so he gave him a better name, a really cool name that better matched the astronaut suit and the obvious personality of the doll. (He always gave his toys and pets great names.) Ralphie Charlie, the astronaut, was much loved and cuddled, and still lives in the closet under the stairs with all the other sweet dollies of my children's young years.

He also had a huge blue My Pet Monster stuffie that went everywhere with us. For several years, it was bigger than Son. We still have Monster, too. And his orange handcuffs. Monster lives on top of my dresser. I was never much into knickknacks, but Monster looks really good to me, sitting there collecting dust. . . .

We still have most of their toys, in fact. They always took good care of them, and I saved them all for when they bring grandchildren to me. (Don't hold your breath. . . . .)

I loved those years. Christmas with small children is better than anything else. ANYTHING else! Yes, even that.

I remember the first Christmas without actual toys. C and I had driven to the Big City as usual, but when we pulled into the parking lot of the big toy store, we looked at each other with puzzled expressions on our faces.

"I don't really need to go in here this year," was what she said.

I was taken completely by surprise; and then I realized that I didn't need to go in there, either.

I think we were both in shock the whole rest of the trip.

I posted last night about first times, and last times. I actually do remember the last time I shopped for Christmas toys for my own children. It was the year before the first time I didn't.

Would it have made a difference, I wonder, knowing it was the last toy spree? I don't know. I don't think so, but I really don't know. I do know this much for sure: I'm glad I didn't know.

I still love making Christmas for my children, but clothes, gift cards, and computer components just aren't as much fun.

Up until this year, my students and I always made Christmas for a needy family; this year, I have a different kind of teaching job and that isn't possible.

I think I'll trek down to WalMart and pull a couple of names off their Mitten Tree. The 'sweet dolly' syndrome has me in its clutches, and if I don't get to put one in my cart along with some stuffed animals and a big box of TinkerToys, it just won't be Christmas.

And if I do that, then someone else will get Christmas, too. Isn't that what it's all about, anyway?

(I mean besides the religious significance; don't anybody get all huffy with me. . . .)

All is not lost though; old as they are, I can still see the eagerness of childhood in their faces as we open gifts on Christmas morning. They're not fooling me; I know my children when I see them. Even when they tower over me, and talk about people I don't know, and have their own apartments. My children.

I remember the first time they mentioned a person I didn't know; but that's another post altogether.

Oh Christmas. Oh children. They can't be separated. One is not complete without the other.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:48 PM | |


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