As I was packing up the RV and moving bags full of clothes and kitchen items into my parents garage, I found a giant box full of my collectors item annual Christmas Barbies, and once again was torn. I fought against the nagging in the back of my head telling me that I could probably sell these Barbies, still in their boxes, and make a little extra "fix up the house" money, but eventually decided I knew the perfect little girl that was in need of imagination stimulation.
Unfortunately Scarlett is a realist. I made a huge deal of these special Barbies. Told her they were from my collection when I was a little girl and that I wanted to share them with her. Gave her free reign to imagine all of the balls that these fancy women would be invited to to dance the night away. She looked at me, excited for the pretty dresses and the tiny shoes, and said "what do they do?". I told her they can do anything. They can be friends going to the store, they can be mommies taking their babies to the park, they can be dressed up for an extravagant night on the town. They can be whatever you want. Imagine away. She just made them hug, brushed their hair and laid them down.
And then I smiled. Every day I am reminded that this little girl is half of me. I thought of my childhood, and my idea of playing with Barbies really was limited to changing their clothes over and over again, brushing their hair and giving them extravagant up-dos. They some times went on dates with Ken, but never really did much talking. Barbies were fun, but only because of the piles of clothes, shoes and accessories. I would have much rather spent my time reading or creating an elaborate dance to Gloria Estefan's "conga". I loved to sing and learn new lyrics, I loved to sit in a quiet corner reading a choose your own adventure. I still lack imagination and so does Scarlett. When we play "doll house", she is the mommy and I am "the girl" and usually it involves nap time, wake up, nap time, wake up and then we are both bored and move on to something more productive like painting or bubble baths.
Sometimes I will catch her with her dolls or stuffed animals, putting them to bed or changing their dirty diapers. Sometimes she will play school, lining her animals up one by one, driving them on the bus and teaching them the alphabet. This is the Chris half. This is the half that indulges in make believe. The half that I always seemed to be missing. The half that my sister always complained to when I wouldn't join her in her imaginary endeavors. The half I wish came naturally. To be a little girl again and indulge in this missing half. To take Barbie for a joy ride in her convertible to some exotic place, meeting her girlfriends for a quick lunch full of five year old gossip. To be a little girl again through the eyes of my own little girl.
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