Guess what I’m doing on December 16? GUESS!! Elia and I are joining some friends and 2 little girls for lunch at the American Girl Store! As you can imagine, Elia is beside herself with excitement.
This is why I had kids, people.
American Girls hit my radar at some point in the very late 80s or early 90s. In my day, there were only 3: Kirsten, Molly, and Samantha. I collected porcelain dolls, and though they weren’t porcelain, their outfits and accessories were just too much for me. I needed Samantha.
Mom took one long look at the dog-eared catalogue and did something very odd. She suggested that I buy her myself with money earned from chores around the house. Um, ok.
I was 10 or 11, so maybe she thought I was getting too old for dolls and would outgrow her before we got a decent return on investment. Maybe she looked at the price of the doll, and the prices on the subsequent 20 pages of accessories and thought, “Oh, heeeeyull no!” Either way, it was chore time for me.
I don’t recall the details, but I remember that sweeping the kitchen and taking out the trash earned me $0.10 each. Yup, a dime. Do you know how long it takes for someone to raise enough money for an American Girl doll one dime at a time? (I know vacuuming was a premium. I think that was $o.25, so I did that one a lot. Perhaps that’s why I’m a vacuuming freak to this day. Man, there’s nothing better than fresh vacuum lines in a carpet. But I digress.)
Where was I? Oh yes. Do you know how long it takes to earn enough for an American Girl doll one dime at a time? Long enough to outgrow your love for dolls, I’ll tell you that. I’m not sure how long this arrangement lasted, but I remember trading out my coins for actual bills and keeping them in a drawer, where’d I’d obsessively take out my stash and count it dollar by dollar. I’d pour through the catalogue and agonize over which accessory set to buy first. I eventually made enough to buy Samantha. But after all that hard work and longing, would I be happy with just the doll? Probably not, so I put off buying her until I could also get an accessory set. Or two. Or three. And then one day I looked at that stack of cash and thought, “This much for a doll and her accessories?! Oh, heeeeyull no!”
I never bought her. And that was the start to a long, and time-honored tradition of frantically saving up for something, only to decide to hoard my cash in the end. It continues to this very day. But sometimes life throws you a second chance. So in a month, I’ll go to the American Girl store for a fabulous lunch. My friend’s 3 and 2-year-old nieces will have their American Girls in high chairs next to them, while I’ll have my own real little doll in her high chair right next to me. And I have to know: would it be weird to dress her up like Samantha?