This is a story that Leah has already heard many times. I pull it out when I am feeling nostalgic, but I also tell it to her to drive home the point that good things come to those who wait.
I was eight years old. My parents had been divorced for about 18 months and they had both already moved on and were living with new partners. I adjusted pretty well for a child of my age. For some reason, that summer a catalog came to my mom’s apartment. It was the American Girl catalog. I got ahold of it and began flipping through, and it was lust at first sight. I wanted an American Girl doll something wicked. Every day I changed my mind about which one. I wanted Kirsten. Wait, no! Samantha! Most of all, I wanted Molly.
I carried the dog-eared catalog with me everywhere I went, fantasizing about the coveted dolls. If you turned it sideways on one of the doll pages, you could see the actual size. Therefore I would open it up to Molly’s page and carry it around, pretending that I really had the doll herself. I think I even checked the books out of the library and read them ahead of time. By August I already knew what would be on my Christmas list.
Christmas morning came and I had tons of gifts. Art supplies, toys, you name it. I had one large box left, and while most kids would be thrilled to see such a huge box, my heart sank. It was too big to be a doll. I was thrilled with all of the gifts I had, but at the same time I would have traded them all for just Molly.
I tried to act excited as I made my way amongst the wrapping paper towards the box. I didn’t want my parents to think I was ungrateful. I tore the paper off and opened up, and there she was. My parents, under the guise of Santa, had gotten not only Molly, but the entire “starter kit” which included several outfits, tons of cool accessories, and her wooden school desk. I was thrilled. Thinking back to that moment now still brings tears to my eyes.
From that moment on I was hooked. I loved Molly, and I began saving my allowance for my accessories, and even eventually got two more dolls and a horse. Every time I got a new doll, though, I told Molly that she would always be special to me. Sometime around the age of 12 I stopped playing with the dolls. I put them into a plastic bin, and I remember picking Molly up, and hugging her one last time before I put the lid on.
When I moved into my first apartment, the bin came with me, stored in an extra closet. Being a poor college student, there were times when I needed a little help with the bills, or wanted some extra money for Christmas shopping. First went my Bitty Babies. Then the American Girl of Today, the horse, and finally, Felicity. But I held onto Molly. As I gathered up everything that went with Felicity I whispered to Molly not to be afraid of the same fate. I promised her that she would stay with me, because she was my special doll, and that someday my little girl would play with her. Because you see, long before Leah was conceived, I dreamed her. I always knew that she would be in my life.