She was perfect... beautiful.
My newly-adopted cousin had pulled my name in the gift exchange, but I suspect that it was my Aunt Linda who had in fact chosen the lovely little treasure in my arms. Some feelings cannot be expressed in words. My aunt must have understood that as she looked down at me as I was caressing the beautiful golden curls of my Christmas gift.
I named her Sally. She was my precious little treasure. She was like a real baby. Her little bottle could be filled with water and she would actually drink it. Then her soiled diaper could be changed. I felt like I was a real Mommy. It was as if my greatest dreams had come true.
I packed Sally with me to play. I brushed her hair and changed her clothes. I even took her into the bath with me, then wrapped her in my baby blanket and tucked her into bed with me to sleep.
She was my special show-and-tell in Kindergarten. Much to my dismay, Teacher said I could not keep her in the class room unless she had my name on her. And she handed me a permanent marker. I wrote my name “SaRAh A.” with a backwards “R” on her forehead, the only place I could find that didn’t have clothes covering her, since I also wasn’t permitted to undress her in the classroom. I was very angry at the teacher that she had forced me to ruin my beautiful little baby. I came to greatly dislike that teacher.
I tried everything later to get the permanent marker off, but to no avail. She was ruined. I cried, but finally had to accepted that I could not change it. And I accepted her the way she was; I still loved her in spite of what had happened to her.
When I was six I decided to wash her hair when I was bathing with her. It was disastrous. Apparently her hair was not intended to be washed. All the beautiful tight little curls unfurled and stood on end like a stiff afro. Again I cried. But I could not undue it. By this time I had come to grips with the fact that my doll was not perfect, but she was still my doll. I tried to make up for her afro by tying her hair in pointy pony tails, or covering it with a bandanna.
When I was nine, Momma taught me to sew. I took Sally’s little white baby dress (which I thought looked like a wedding dress) and sewed a little white pearl button onto it’s front. I thought it was a great improvement.
I don’t remember if I had other dolls growing up or not. If I did, they didn’t leave an impression: Sally is the only one I remember.
As I grew older, Sally moved from my bed with me to a little cubby hole at the front of my bunk bed. Wrapped in my baby blanket, I knew she was safe there. And when I needed a good cry, as all teen girls do, I would pull out my baby Sally and my blanket and hold them tight.
When I was sixteen I received a Hope Chest for Christmas. Soon Sally was lovingly tucked away to wait another little girl who would, some day, love her as her own while she dreamed of becoming a mommy.
That day has not yet come. So far, I only have boys, who in classic boy fashion, think she is very funny looking. But once, when he thought I wasn’t looking, I saw one of them lovingly caressing her hair and rocking her to sleep. The men in my family love babies.
Today she isn’t far from me: I keep her in my top dresser drawer. And on a hard day she can still make me smile.
Remember that this is what I dreamed about all those years ago.