Thursday, October 4, 2012

material joy

For Frances's 6th birthday I fear we climbed a pennicle that will never again be crested. All other birthdays may pale forever in comparison.

There were two sets of grandparents here, much doting, you can imagine. Plus a big gathering for dinner plus a lit and glowing cake that she helped decorate plus a trip to the pet store for fish and a little fish tank with a light. It was a big day. 

The biggest thing, though, was the American Girl doll. It goes against so much that I believe in - predatory marketing, consumerism as status symbols, questionable manufacturing practices. Yet yet yet.  Yet practically the only thing she has talked about daily since her last birthday is an American Girl doll. Maybe literally. 

I made her a lovely and sentimentally valuable Waldorf doll who wears the same size dresses as the AG doll. Over the past year we talked about the RIDICULOUS price of the commercial one, and then compared that price to all sorts of other things that same money could buy. It was a good math exercise. Did we learn anything from it? I have no idea. 

But oh the joy when she opened the package. Many parents need it like a fix. They go to crazy lengths christmas after birthday after christmas to see that response on their child's face. It captures something we've mostly lost as adults, some kind of faith that we can be fixed, that joy is pure, that our wishes can indeed be filled, that we can - in the end - be happy. 

And since, of course, the doll was all she wanted, everyone else got clothes and accessories to go with it. We filled her every single wish, mostly because her wishes were so few. And because I am a sucker. 

It sure was fun. 

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